Earlier today, we reported the release of the new TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25, a Buffalo Americas network-attached storage device with a pre-installed copy of StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect BDR solution. Here’s an inside look at that product and how it came to be.
According to Bill Rhodes, director of channel sales for Buffalo Americas, channel pros played a key role in inspiring the new offering.
“It's something that both our partner bases pushed us into,” he says. Resellers have been using Buffalo Americas TeraStation NAS devices and StorageCraft ShadowProtect together as a sort of “roll your own” BDR appliance for a while, Rhodes continues, and have been lobbying for a solution custom-tailored for that workload.
The two companies—which have a roughly three-year history of joint sales, marketing, and support efforts—began working together on just such a product last August. The system they came up with basically turns a standard SMB-appropriate NAS device into a purpose-built BDR appliance by equipping it with more processing horsepower (it features an Intel Core i3 CPU), hardware-based RAID, extra memory, and pre-integrated ShadowProtect software.
According to StorageCraft alliance marketing director Bret Dayley, the upshot is a system that’s easy to deploy, flexible, and affordable. Though the solution comes with ShadowProtect already installed, buyers must purchase licenses for that product separately. That’s actually to their advantage though, Dayey says, because it allows them to buy only as many licenses as they require, unlike competing products with pre-set licensing minimums that can put BDR appliances out of financial reach for smaller companies and the solution providers who serve them.
“This allows them to go in, buy the hardware component for a very affordable price, and then buy as much licensing as they need,” Dayley says.
As a result, he continues, the TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25 is well positioned for use at the lower end of the SMB market, unlike the company’s earlier joint BDR solution with NETGEAR, which is aimed at midsize companies. In fact, the “25” in this new solution’s name alludes to its target audience, which is companies with up to 25 users.
Both Buffalo Americas and StorageCraft emphasize another feature that makes the TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25 a flexible choice: Resellers who use it can decide whether or not they link it to a cloud-based backup repository, and pick which cloud backup offering they employ if they choose to use one. Some channel pros prefer to store client data on their own onsite or co-located infrastructure, and having the option to do so allows them to earn higher margins, Dayley says.
For StorageCraft, the TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25 is notable for two additional reasons as well. For one, it’s the company’s first co-developed BDR appliance that runs on the standard edition of Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server platform and supports the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor that ships with that product. Oracle VM VirtualBox has been StorageCraft’s exclusive hypervisor up until now, but Dayley says that StorageCraft partners, many of whom use Hyper-V for other purposes these days, have been clamoring for Hyper-V support in growing numbers.
“We’ve definitely had requests from our community to leverage Hyper-V as the hypervisor for recovery,” he states, noting that the new solution uses the VirtualBoot for Hyper-V product StorageCraft released last year to meet those requests.
In addition, the TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25 is the first StorageCraft solution available through D&H Distributing Co., which is in fact the exclusive distributor for the new system. That was a decision proposed by Buffalo Americas, based on its assessment of which disti has the best reach into the 25-ish user SMB market the new solution is designed for.
“When we looked at our product lineup, it was a best fit for the D&H customer base,” Rhodes says of the new offering.
Also worth noting: Though StorageCraft hasn’t said much about it yet, the TeraStation StorageCraft Recovery Center 25 isn’t the only StorageCraft product available through D&H. Channel pros can now acquire the entire StorageCraft solution portfolio through that source.
Neither Buffalo Americas nor StorageCraft would comment definitively on any future collaborative ventures, but based on the initial feedback he’s been receiving Rhodes suspects this won’t be the two companies’ last joint offering.
“It’s very reasonable to assume that as the adoption takes place and the sales justify this, we will be increasing this to target users probably up to about a hundred users and maybe five to seven servers,” he says.