Startup Lasso Delivers Backup Service, Appliance

Lasso Logic, an eight-month old, San Francisco startup, is now starting to talk to solution providers about its technology, which is still in beta, said Steve Goodman, CEO.

The company's first product, the LassoCDP, is an integrated hardware and software appliance offering continuous data protection. It sits on a storage network looking for any new files or for changes to any existing files. Those new files or changes are automatically replicated locally and also to an off-site location without user intervention, Goodman said.

Lasso is targeting small businesses because their data storage requirements are growing but they require a simple way to make sure it is continually backed up and protected, Goodman said.

"We are to a certain degree a replacement for tape," he said. "I don't believe tape is going away. But it's changing. You can back up to disk and then to an on-line service, or you can archive to tape, but then you have to take the tape off-site."

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The LassoCDP is a PC-based appliance with a single Western Digital hard drive. It uses Linux, but a Windows version is also available. There is no need for a second drive in a RAID configuration because the data is continuously backed up to a remote site, said Goodman. The appliance also allows restoration of files, and because it backs up incremental changes, it allows a file to be restored from a particular point in time.

For the time being, the data is backed up to Lasso's hosted off-site storage facility. Solution providers who sign on with the company will sell both the appliance and the backup service as a bundle, Goodman said.

"It's not only simple for the customer, but its a more motivating sell to the VAR," he said. "Instead of billing a customer for service calls, more and more VARs want to sign customers to do service on a retainer. But if they have a retainer, they don't want to waste time on unnecessary service calls."

Solution providers can get between 10 points and 50 points discount on the appliance, depending on level of sales commitment. Lasso also offers a small residual on the customer's service contract. "But our business model is to make money on residuals," Goodman said.

The company is looking for both single-tier and two-tier channel partners who understand software and who have practices in strong niches such as medical and law firms where the value of data is very high, said Goodman.

The LassoCDP and related off-site storage services are going into beta testing early this month, and general availability is expected in mid-April, said Goodman. The company will recruit channel partners during the test period, but only sign contracts once the testing is complete. "We want to make sure we can crawl before we walk," he said.

In the future, Lasso plans to sell its software to custom system builders to build their own appliances. The company may also open the backup services to other companies' hosted storage infrastructure as well, Goodman said.