Morro Data Intros MSPEdge Program To Bring Hybrid On-Premises, Cloud File Management To MSPs

Morro Data, a developer of cloud-based global file services,Tuesday unveiled its first formal channel program, MSPEdge, aimed at enabling MSPs to manage file and object data for customers in the cloud.

The architecture of Morro Data, which came out of stealth a half-year ago, combines the security and cost of raw cloud-based storage with the performance of an on-premises appliance that acts as an online cache, said Paul Tien, founder and CEO of the Fremont, Calif.-based storage vendor.

Morro Data's CloudNAS provides a NAS interface, with all its performance, control and compatibility with Active Directory and Azure Active Directory, for data on the cloud, Tien said. That data is stored either on AWS S3, or via lower-cost providers like San Mateo, Calif.-based Backblaze or Boston-based Wasabi, with Microsoft Azure on the way, Tien told CRN.

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"We offer multi-site cloud capability that lets multiple users do file sync and share," he said.

CloudNAS also includes edge appliances with built-in NAS interfaces that sit on each customer site to allow multiple users work together on a single platform, Tien said.

"The appliance has a cache for performance, but the data is in the cloud," he said. "So users actually work with data stored on the local appliance. This conserves bandwidth, and optimizes bandwidth. We are an edge computing architecture, not a pure cloud play."

The local cache appliances, combined with the cloud, provide businesses with unlimited scale in the cloud, Tien said. "Users don't need to worry about running out of capacity on-premises," he said.

Morro Data's new MSPEdge program is targeting the needs of MSPs whose clients are increasingly dealing with growing amounts of unstructured data and are looking to the cloud for primary and secondary data management and bridging to object storage, said Michael Clegg, chief operations officer for the company.

While CloudNAS was launched as a direct play to secure early customers, the majority of its business is expected to go through indirect sales channels, particularly via MSPs, Clegg told CRN.

MSPs who join MSPEdge get the resources and tools needed to centrally manage customers' resources, devices and user permissions, Clegg said. The company provides partners with virtual machine and not-for-resell units to show customers, and offers MSPs their own service plan, he said.

With CloudNAS, MSPs can serve clients with three types of file services, Clegg said.

"They can provide storage consolidation, including primary and secondary storage with multiple cloud providers," he said. "They can provide multiple office file sync and share. And they can provider disaster recovery, including file versioning and ransomware protection with no critical hardware necessary on-premises."

Customers really need an easy way to store files in the cloud much as they now do on-premises, said Nate Ruehs, partner at Network Management, a Cleveland-based solution provider and Morro Data channel partner.

"Everyone is used to putting things on their local drives," Ruehs told CRN. "They are ready to use the cloud, but they don't want to go through an internet browser. Morrow Data puts files in the cloud, but provides local drive access through the cache appliance. Morro with its cache drive and cloud fits their needs. We're pretty excited about it."

Morro Data has proven itself to be an MSP-friendly vendor, Ruehs said. "It's pretty straightforward to get started with them," he said. "The Morro guys are probably the smartest guys I've ever talked with."

Morro Data is going in the right direction, Ruehs said. "I've given them criticism and feedback, and they've been aggressive in meeting our needs with a number of upgrades in their offerings. It's nice to know they are not being static."

Many of Network Management's customers use Microsoft Office 365, which has very basic file services when compared with those offered by Morro Data, Ruehs said.

"The biggest thing is Morro Data's cache appliance," he said. "Customers know they are downloading files from the cache. A traditional cloud-only storage solution may not work because of bandwidth considerations."

Network Management is now moving some of its customers to the Azure cloud, and Morro Data will likely release its Azure support late this month, Ruehs said. "This will be a big deal for customers," he said.