Small businesses, medical offices, schools, non-profit organizations and the like don't care if their data is stored using state-of-the-art equipmentas long as their data and important records are properly saved. Server Partners' answer to this is its leased NAS appliance called FileEngine, which can ease those concerns while putting money in solution providers' pockets.
Server Partners' FileEngine combines Linux, open-source software and the Pentium 4 platform in a storage appliance that is leased for a flat monthly fee for a three-year term. There are no hidden costs, and the appliance is simply replaced every three years along with a new lease agreement.
FileEngine is ideal for companies that might need to add users to their network but don't want to deal with licensing and maintenance costs. FileEngine comes with redundant hard drives, integrated DVD-R backup, a free APC SmartUPS 620 UPS, remote administration and monitoring, and it works with all versions of Windows and Mac OS X. It supports an unlimited number of users with no license costs or repair bills.
Although FileEngine basically is a NAS device, customers are guaranteed that their data is safe, and solution providers are guaranteed to make money because the appliance is leased and maintained remotely. Prices start at $235 per month for a unit containing two mirrored 120-Gbyte hard drives. The monthly fee covers installation, integration, monitoring and maintenance. Updates are performed automatically as needed. Configurations with greater capacity and price are available. A built-in double-layer DVD burner lets users put up to 18 Gbytes of backup files on removable media from an easy-to-use push-button interface. To prevent user tampering, no mouse, keyboard or monitor come with the appliance.
Partners must connect up to 10 networked PCs to earn $1,100 when they install a FileEngine. Partners also earn $50 for connecting each additional system when there are more than 10 of them. Customers must provide all network details including users, groups and file storage areas so that the FileEngine can be configured at the factory before it's shipped. Therefore, it's ready to install in a customer's network immediately upon delivery. The installation tools that are included with FileEngine streamline the process; a software wizard automatically connects PCs to the domain hosted by the FileEngine and support for the Mac OS is included. If a customer starts a new lease after three years is up, they receive a brand-new unit and the partner receives another $1,100.
Partners can make more than $1,100 on an installation by selling a desktop/laptop imaging solution that allows the data on attached PCs to be rebuilt.
Weekly system images cost $10 per PC per month. Partners must install Acronis TrueImage software on each PC to be imaged and schedule it to run weekly. Partners receive half of the $10 per month for the entire 36-month period, and they receive all money up front when the installation is complete; it comes out to an additional $180 per system.
In addition to the installation payment, partners can generate recurring revenue by selling an off-site remote backup option. The service is sold to partners for $3 per Gbyte per month, but the partner can typically charge customers $6 to $10 per Gbyte per month. The partner then receives a check each month from Server Partners. If ever there is a problem with the appliance, partners also are paid to fix it. (Customers never have to pay more than their agreed-on monthly lease price.)
Solution providers must complete the FileEngine Certified Partner Training Program in order to sell the units. The two-day program outlines how to sell FileEngines and how to install and operate them in Windows networks. The training program costs $3,000, which includes a fully functional FileEngine that can be used for testing, training and demos. Express Certification, which includes just training, costs $1,000. Because FileEngine enables resellers to earn installation money up front, service money for repairs and recurring revenue from selling off-site storage, Server Partners' channel program gets a rating of 4 stars.