CRN Exclusive: Cirrus Data Solutions Intros First Channel Program For Data Migration Services

Data migration technology provider Cirrus Data Solutions on Monday rolled out its first official channel program as a way to help its channel partners invest in a service that can help them solve customers' data migration issues.

Cirrus Data Solutions' new Data Migration Accelerator Partner Program brings together the various facets of the how the Syosset, N.Y.-based vendor has been working with solution providers into a formal program, said Ron Croce, the company's vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.

The new program offers three tiers of benefits based primarily on how much migration capacity partners purchase for their customers, Croce told CRN.

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Depending on the level of participation, partners get access to deal registration benefits, co-marketing funds, lead generation programs, event marketing and more, he said.

Cirrus Data Solutions develops data migration services that are priced as a service to partners, Croce said.

The service allows migration of data from physical to physical devices, from cloud to cloud, from physical to cloud, and from cloud to physical, regardless of vendor or cloud, he said. "Most of the tools out there are vendor-specific," he said. "We're vendor-agnostic. We're indifferent to the hardware, software, or operating system. We provide one tool for all use cases."

The Cirrus Data Solutions data migration tools offer full automation of the migration process, and include full quality of service (QoS) capabilities that prevent the tool from grabbing too many resources and disrupting production environments, Croce said.

"It can be set from minimally invasive to fully aggressive migration," he said. "Other tools like VMware vMotion can be used, but once you turn it on, it goes full bore. We automate a tedious, low-return migration project."

With the quality of service capabilities, the migration can be done even during maintenance breaks, Croce said. And once the migration is done, customers are automatically cut over to the new storage, he said.

Cirrus Data Solutions prices its data migration service to partners based on the number of capacity licenses they want to purchase, Croce said. "A partner can order, say, 500 TBs of migration," he said. "They can allocate according to use. Maybe 100 TBs here, 100 TBs there. If they need more, they can just send in another purchase order, and they get provisioned automatically."

The data migration service is done via an appliance furnished by Cirrus Data Solutions. Partners can purchase the appliances, or rent them, Croce said. That lets partners take the appliances from customer to customer instead of selling the appliances to specific customers, he said.

Cirrus Data Solutions has become the centerpiece of the data migration service Congruity, a Pembroke, Mass.-based solution provider that works with other channel partners who need help with a wide range of storage services.

Jim Clifford, vice president of business development at Congruity, told CRN that Cirrus provides a robust service for any-to-any migration. "If we work with a partner who wants to replace an EMC VNX with Pure Storage, we find the Cirrus service easier and faster than VMware's vMotion," he said.

And while vMotion may be a lower-cost solution, it may not be the most cost-effective solution, Clifford said.

"Data migrations often require data wipes from the old storage, which is included with the service," he said. "And there's a 30 percent to 40 percent time savings. So customers can save a lot of soft costs."

Clifford said partners like Congruity help keep the Cirrus service costs low on a per-terabyte basis. "We get the licenses for Cirrus, download it, and use it," he said. "So customers don't need to buy the license on their own. Because we buy at a petabyte-level, not at the terabyte-level, it makes us more cost-effective."

Getting a formal channel program is a big step for Cirrus Data Solutions, Clifford said.

"It helps customers know we have the certifications, and meet the Cirrus guidelines," he said. "It will also give us exposure, and make it easier for us to work with smaller channel partners to leverage our expertise."

Mark Tuggle, vice president of sales at USI, a Chicago-based storage-focused solution provider, told CRN that his company just signed with Cirrus Data Solutions as a way to have the vendor's technology available when customers look at data migration projects.'

"Now that we have the tool, we will look for the problem," Tuggle said. "We have a lot of customers with mixed storage environments, such as both NetApp and Nexsan storage. But as storage solutions age, maintenance costs for vendors like NetApp can be very expensive. We can use Cirrus to migrate old data from NetApp to Nexsan, if suitable. It's a great platform."