EMC unveils SaaS strategy

Posted on March 01, 2008

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By Kevin Komiega

EMC launched a new strategy for delivering software-as-a-service (SaaS) with the introduction of a new online backup-and-recovery service dubbed MozyEnterprise. The move marks EMC’s first foray into the world of SaaS, and MozyEnterprise is the first software application to run on the company’s newly developed Fortress software delivery platform.

MozyEnterprise automates secure backup and recovery over the Internet for off-site data protection of remote desktops, laptops, and branch-office servers in distributed enterprise environments. EMC also announced OEM agreements with partners, including Verizon Business, to sell MozyEnterprise online backup services to their enterprise customers.

EMC acquired online backup-and-recovery services provider Berkeley Data Systems and its Mozy online data-protection technology last October for about $76 million. At that time, Mozy was offered in two versions–MozyHome and MozyPro–both of which were aimed at delivering remote data protection for small businesses and consumers. Now, with the debut of MozyEnterprise, EMC is looking to move up the food chain into the enterprise market.

MozyEnterprise is available now in North America through EMC and its OEM partners, starting at a monthly price of $5.25 per desktop or laptop and an additional per-gigabyte fee of $0.70. Servers cost a bit more, with a price of $9.25 per supported server and $2.35 per gigabyte. MozyEnterprise supports Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.

MozyEnterprise is the first of EMC’s SaaS applications to use the Fortress platform. EMC’s SaaS road map includes additional IT-based SaaS applications built on Fortress in areas such as data security, trusted data services, and other IT applications.

According to Doug Chandler, research director for IDC’s infrastructure services research group, EMC’s SaaS plans and Fortress technology were under development prior to the acquisition of Mozy.

“EMC was working on the Fortress platform before the Mozy acquisition and is blending the Mozy infrastructure and design with the existing Fortress technology,” says Chandler. “Fortress has been designed to allow EMC to plug in other applications to provide as software-as-a-service, beyond Mozy backup.”

 

As such, Fortress provides common billing, customer management, and support functionality that can be used across applications, backed by a scalable infrastructure. “The emphasis will be on one-to-many service provisioning, and multi-tenancy, rather than dedicated resources for each customer,” says Chandler.

EMC will initially target MozyEnterprise at small and medium-sized companies, but Chandler also expects the company to gain traction in larger enterprise accounts with distributed branch office locations.

The next logical step for EMC is to look internally across its software portfolio to determine which of its in-house applications are suited for the SaaS delivery model. Chandler says the most likely candidates for SaaS are document management applications from EMC’s Documentum division, EmailXtender for archiving, and the continued integration of security technologies from EMC’s RSA security division.

EMC has already begun the process of incorporating its intellectual property into Fortress and MozyEnterprise. Building on the original Mozy platform, EMC has added several new features for enterprises, including integrated key management, authentication and authorization security, and rapid enterprise-wide deployment options such as assisted activation, auto-activation, and proxy support to facilitate deployment in an enterprise environment.

EMC is also looking outward in its efforts to flesh out its SaaS strategy. “We have announced OEM relationships with partners that will leverage our platform as a development and deployment platform for their applications,” says Harsha Ramalingan, vice president of products and operations with EMC’s SaaS Business Unit. “We are starting off with the Mozy backup service and will continue to add application services and take advantage of our existing portfolio. Then we’ll look at third- party applications.”

EMC has struck a number of OEM/reseller deals with vendors such as eFileCabinets, FusionStorm, TelX, and Verizon Business. EMC plans to offer MozyEnterprise to its global partners and customers later this year.

EMC’s SaaS strategy includes the formation of a new business unit dedicated to bringing IT-based SaaS applications to market. So why is EMC getting into the SaaS market? The answer is simple: opportunity.

“Our customers have started to ask us about the ability to consume software in a different way. The momentum of the SaaS model is building and our enterprise customers are asking for it,” says Ramalingan. “SaaS works because of the compelling benefits. Customers prefer to derive the value of the software without actually having to operate and run it themselves.”

Adam Couture, a principal research analyst at Gartner Inc., says other Tier-1 storage vendors will undoubtedly join the fray with their own SaaS platforms. “You hear the term ‘platform’ a lot these days, but as far as SaaS is concerned, a platform must have infrastructure behind it as well as metering, monitoring, and billing capabilities on tap so you are able to easily launch services,” says Couture. “Other Tier-1 storage vendors will absolutely get into this space.”


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