Wikibon Peer Incite Research Meeting
During the November 13, 2012, Wikibon Peer Incite Research Meeting, Paul Martin, Information Technology Manager at Poulin Grain discussed his recent experiences investigating cloud gateways and cloud storage offerings. What became immediately clear to the community is that the market for both cloud storage and cloud-storage gateway appliances needs to be segmented into a collection of smaller markets, based upon customer size, features, and price.
Helping Customers Find the Right Fit
Martin is currently considering Amazon’s Glacier offering, in part due to the $.01/GB/month pricing. He believes that he does not need all of the capabilities or expense of more complete offerings. While beginning his due diligence, Martin reported that some suppliers were quite helpful, suggesting alternatives to their own offering, when they recognized they were a poor fit for Poulin Grain. Another supplier, in his words “couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough.” Suppliers will gain a great deal of credibility and community goodwill by educating their front-line sales team on how to quickly qualify good prospects and helpfully re-direct poor ones.
Articulating The Segment
A great deal of prospect confusion can be avoided by clearly articulating the segment of the market your solutions best serve in marketing communications:
- Good-enough, low-cost cloud for the budget sensitive,
- Commercial-class, feature-enhanced solutions for the mid-market,
- Enterprise-class, feature-rich solutions for the most demanding customers.
Communicating The Direction
Software and disk-to-disk backup appliance suppliers, especially those whose core products were implemented before the expansion of the cloud-storage market and initial customer adoption, need to communicate their plans and directions for integration with cloud storage suppliers clearly. In the case of Poulin Grain, Martin’s preferred backup software supplier, Veeam offers integration with a number of cloud-backup providers. At the same time, Martin was unclear as to whether his backup appliance from ExaGrid could replicate directly to the cloud. Martin scheduled a meeting with ExaGrid the same week as the Peer Incite, and he hopes to learn more of ExaGrid’s cloud-integration plans at that time.
Action Item: Every backup and archive appliance supplier needs to develop an integrate-with-the-cloud or access-to-the-cloud strategy. Suppliers should include among the features the ability to identify change data, deduplicate data, compress data, and encrypt data, to minimize the network requirements. In addition, suppliers should focus on the speed with which they can reintegrate recovery data sets. RTO will be a key factor in supplier success. Customers will not tolerate a solution on which the build time on the recovery data set increases as time passes.