Enter Axcient: Storage Startup Slips Out Of Stealth Mode

Brand new data backup and recovery vendor Axcient emerged from stealth mode Tuesday with an array of hybrid on-premises appliance and cloud-based storage services targeting small businesses. The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, which is focusing on SMBs with as few as five employees, is also pursuing a channel-only model, said CEO Justin Moore. Since its soft launch last November, the company has signed up about 100 channel partners who collectively have sold Axcient services to some 200 customers.

Axcient picked a devil of a time to go public -- in the heart of the worst economic recession in decades. That's not entirely accurate, as CEO Justin Moore points out, noting that his plans to build the company were laid out years before last September's market crash. Still, Axcient remains a start-up in challenging times -- and Moore, surprisingly, wouldn't have it any other way.

"If you think about it, start-ups don't make much money in the first year or two anyway. We'd rather be in the start-up phase during the downturn than entering the mature phase right now," he said about a week before Axcient's public curtain-lifting on Tuesday.

Axcient's combination of on-premises appliances and Internet-based data backup provides customers with the failsafe of cloud archiving behind local storage which provides fast restores, Moore said. Appliances come in three different form factors, including this set-top, as well as a 1u rack mount and a 2u rack mount unit. And Axcient doesn't sell the appliances -- they are included as part of the monthly platform fee, which starts at under $100.

The 1u rack mount appliance from Axcient comes in three flavors -- the 500GB model is recommended for up to 10 users, the 1TB version for up to 25 and the 1.5TB unit for up to 50. Built in conjunction with Bell Microproducts, the appliance includes RAID capability and redundant power supplies. Incremental changes in customer data are encrypted and backed up on a regular basis. Services include Axcient's RapidRestore Data Backup, SmartArchive Data Retention and SmartDR Disaster Recovery.

The big gun in Axcient's arsenal is its 2u rack mount, starting at 3TB on up to a unit boasting 10TB storage capacity. Solution providers can come in at one of four levels, said Victor Neeley, vice president of sales at Axcient. At the preferred partner level, Axcient will do co-billing with the partner for customers, collect the payments and pass commissions to the partner. "This lets them focus on getting new customers and working with existing customers," he said. "Partners can mark up the service however they want, and can set different prices for different levels of service."

Axcient builds its Linux-based management software in-house, keeping a small team of developers on the payroll. Both the online and local storage are managed centrally through an easy-to-use dashboard. "Customers can see everything that's connected to the storage, and manage the storage remotely," CEO Justin Moore said. "They can see all the storage in a single window, its status, and any alerts, and can practice pro-active management.