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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
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August 20, 2020 |

Wasabi: Fast, Cheap, and Growing Out of Control

The vendor recruited over 2,700 partners in 14 months by offering high-speed cloud storage at everyday low prices.

AT FIRST GLANCE, electricity and storage have little in common beyond the fact that it takes some of the former to use any of the latter. In David Friend’s eyes, however, electricity and storage share a crucial attribute: Both are commodities that no one should be supplying themselves.

“”Nobody in their right mind would go out to build their own electric generating plant today,”” says Friend, CEO and co-founder of cloud storage vendor Wasabi Technologies. “”Our view is that nobody in their right mind should be standing up their own on-prem storage today. Storage is storage, and if it’s fast and cheap, why would you want to do it yourself?””

The trick, of course, is building a storage solution that’s truly fast and legitimately cheap. That’s a subject Friend and Wasabi co-founder Jeff Flowers know a thing or two about. Cloud-based data protection vendor Carbonite, which they also created together, currently backs up over 700 billion files. The lessons Friend and Flowers learned perfecting Carbonite’s infrastructure convinced them that an opportunity existed to create a next-generation cloud storage platform offering high-speed access to data at everyday low prices.

“”We wanted to be the guys who are kind of like the Walmart of cloud storage,”” Friend recalls.

Enter Wasabi, whose object-based “”hot cloud storage”” repository supports the widely embraced Amazon S3 standard yet costs 80% less than an S3 subscription and offers millisecond response times. That’s fast enough to handle way more than archive data. Wasabi partners store everything from medical imagery and video surveillance footage to server backups on the platform for their customers. And according to Friend, they do so very profitably.

“”You can buy storage from Wasabi and mark it up with a healthy margin and still save your customer at least half over what it would cost if they were going to store the same amount of data in on-prem storage,”” he says. Demand, moreover, is essentially unlimited. “”Everybody needs some amount of storage,”” Friend observes.

Wasabi Partner Network

To help channel pros get in on that market, Wasabi launched a partner program in April 2019, roughly three and a half years after the company was incorporated and two years after the launch of its platform. As of June, the program already had over 2,700 members, with 80 to 100 more signing up each week. “”Nearly all our business is going through channels,”” says Friend. By contrast, he contends, big-time cloud vendors like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services are more than happy to disintermediate their partners.

“”The whole business model for Amazon is sell direct,”” Friend says.

The Wasabi Partner Network, as it’s officially known, charges no membership fees and requires no minimum commitments. Authorized-level partners get capacity at discounted rates. More engaged resellers with over five customers and more than 100 terabytes under management can ascend to the Advanced tier, where they get lead referrals, access to joint marketing programs, and a listing on Wasabi’s website.

Though Wasabi’s platform is designed to be simple, program members are required to have a basic knowledge of object storage, which they can acquire via training courses on the vendor’s partner portal. Channel pros not interested in completing that process, Friend notes, are welcome to buy Wasabi storage through distributors.

Though specifics remain secret, Wasabi has more than object storage in its sights for the future. “”We want to be any place anybody wants to store data, however they want to store it,”” says Friend, who notes that there’s plenty of need for fast, cheap file and block storage in the world. There’s also plenty of demand for cloud services beyond storage, of course, but Wasabi plans to let other vendors meet it.

“”Storing all the world’s data is a huge opportunity,”” Friend “”We’re going to just stick to our knitting and be the storage guys.””

Photo courtesy of Wasabi


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