Cloudian expands service provider reach with launch of Managed Services Provider Program

Cloudian has partnered with large service providers for years, but has established a new program for smaller MSPs, and is looking for those with some kind of vertical or other focus that differentiate them from generalists.

Object storage vendor Cloudian has announced the launch of a new global program specifically for Managed Service Providers [MSPs]. Their goal is to add perhaps a hundred new MSP partners with strong specializations, offering them the opportunity to add a service that is high-margin by the standards of the storage industry.

Cloudian already has a presence in the service provider market, but it has been focused on larger companies. This initiative is targeted at MSPs who are smaller than most of those whom they have worked with in the past.

“We have sold into this market for several years, but have typically been focused on service providers with larger capabilities,” said Jon Toor, Cloudian’s Chief Marketing Officer. This is targeted more at midsized and smaller service providers. It is an entirely new program. We are trying to outreach more aggressively to new partners. This will allow them to offer more services that previously they would have had to figure out for themselves.”

Cloudian makes storage solutions for capacity-intensive workloads, that are compatible with apps that support the S3 API.

“We were purpose-built for this,” Toor said. “We were launched with S3-compatible API from the start, either as software-defined storage or an appliance.  We built Quality-of-Service, billing and multi-tenancy features into the product because our larger service provider customers had to have these. Now we are taking that same package of things, and making it easier for smaller MSPs to provide differentiated services.”

Toor said that the perception is that these kinds of services are pretty low margin, but emphasized it’s not true in this case.

“Some may have thought that because this is storage, it is a low margin business,” he said. “But it isn’t, and there is a fairly substantial market to go after. We have found that service providers are increasingly interested in offering S3-compatible differentiated services with good margin opportunities. Cloud storage services typically start in the 2-3 cent gig a month range, but we can go down as low as a half cent a month, so there is high margin potential here. Unlike traditional enterprise storage, as we get larger it gets more efficient and more profitable. This is an enterprise storage service. We aren’t competing with Carbonite.”

Some MSPs may think that they don’t have enough customers who require the scale of storage that Cloudian provides. Toor pointed out, however, that it doesn’t take many to make a profitable practice.

“Some of our partners that do this profitably only have one customer – but it’s a big one,” he said. These include partners who have a large state as a customer. ThinkOn, a partner in the Greater Toronto area, only has 20-30 customers – but they resell to their own customers.

“We’ve never had someone start up a service and shut it down,” Toor noted.

In addition to their own S3-compatible storage-as-a-service, Cloudian is partnered with vendors in adjacent spaces, to offer MSPs a broad range of services. This includes Big Data-as-a-Service with Splunk, Data Snapshot-as-a-Service with Pure Storage, NAS Offload-as-a-Service with NetApp and Komprise, Sync and Share with SME, video surveillance with Milestone and Getac, and Backup-as-a-Service and Archive-as-a-Service with Veritas, Commvault, Rubrik, and now Veeam.

“What’s exciting for smaller MSPs is that we can now offer a range of solutions in conjunction with our ecosystem partners, Toor said. “Veeam is a newer partner for us, and is a perfect partner for MSPs who want to sell into SMBs. They now plug into us. We just announced this. We’ve done this before with other backup providers, but they were more enterprise.” The Splunk and Pure Storage integrations are also fairly new.

“It’s a whole range of new things that an MSP can offer – all proven interoperable with Cloudian,” Toor said. “Between what we offer and our alliance partner ecosystems, there’s a range of opportunities for MSPs to offer really exciting services.”

Partner programs typically offer table stakes support, and Cloudian does that here, including marketing collateral. However, the real jewel for partners here is solution guides that Cloudian is offering on how to execute these services, so MSPs can add them to their portfolio.

“The solution guides, along with the prefabricated collateral, are the core things in the program,” Toor said. Other elements include online training and 24×7 technical support.

Cloudian has clear objectives for the new program.

“We probably have 100 service provider customers today, from the smallest of the small, companies with 6-10 employees, to big ones like MTG,” Toor said. “Our objective would be to see another 100 come on board.

“We look for customers who specialize in something – whether a government agency – video, evidence management or something else,” he added. “We aren’t looking for MSPs who are just generalists. We are looking for people who have a solid offering for a specific audience, and we are prepared to help them with our experience. We have a financing partner who will help people with a consumption model. To get that, you need to be an established business with a track record.”

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