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Q&A: Interview with Ken Shaw, CEO of Infrascale, Talking Cloud and VM Backup

Since the introduction of the virtualized data center, the recent growth of the Cloud, and the explosion of corporate data, comprehensive data protection, backup and disaster recovery have once again become top of mind for most in the IT industry.  One of the companies addressing this market is Infrascale.  They provides a cloud platform for data protection that delivers cloud backup, disaster recovery, file sharing and cloud archiving.  And now, they've introduced a VMware Backup solution for virtualized environments.  So to find out more, I spoke with Infrascale's CEO, Ken Shaw.

VMblog:  Let me start off by asking, what's different about Infrascale compared to other backup providers?

Ken Shaw:  Infrascale utilizes the cloud to protect data in a way that hasn't been done before. Data protection is going through an upheaval.  The landscape has changed significantly from just five years ago.  Mobile devices have proliferated.  Data is splintered across multiple OS's, hypervisors and device types.  50% of servers have been virtualized.  The one common thing that all of these devices have is access to the Cloud, so it makes sense to use the Cloud to protect them all. 

That's what Infrascale does best - and most uniquely.  Legacy backup companies like Symantec, CommVault and EMC were originally architected as on-prem solutions and are being retrofitted for the cloud. As such, they have a "on prem" and "client server" architecture that doesn't use the Cloud properly, and haven't kept up with the rapidly changing enterprise data landscape.

At Infrascale we get asked a lot "where does the data go?"  Our answer is simple:  "your cloud, our cloud or any cloud".  Or put another way, Infrascale gives our partners the flexibility to choose the cloud framework that's most appropriate for the needs of their clients, whether that's your own private cloud that you run, a 3rd party public cloud vendor like Amazon or Microsoft, or a hybrid cloud environment with some data on-prem and some data in the cloud.  We are unique in supporting all of these models - and we allow customers to drive all of this from a single management dashboard no matter where the data is ultimately going to reside.

We offer more flexibility, scalability, and equip our partners with the ability to generate high profit margins through reselling our solutions. Our Data Protection Platform provides a full suite of online services, including backup, archive, file sharing, and disaster recovery and it protects a wide range of servers and device types, including physical servers, virtual servers, workstations, laptops and mobile devices.

VMblog:  How has the recent funding and acquisition of Eversync influenced the direction of the company?

Shaw:  The recent funding is being used as growth capital to fuel our expansion.  We were already EBITDA positive and growing fast - but we want to grow faster.  The Series B was led by Carrick Capital Partners with DH Capital participating and raised $16.3 million, which brings the total invested capital in the company up to $25 million.

One of the first things we did with a portion of the investment proceeds is acquire Eversync Solutions.  This expanded Infrascale into the appliance product category.  Coming from a cloud background, however, we are now innovating on how to use appliance technology to enhance our cloud offering and permit us to scale up from small and medium businesses to small and mid-size enterprise.  It will enable us to back up ever-larger data sets into the cloud that were heretofore not practical.  Our VMware Backup announcement today is the first result of that initiative.

VMblog:  Can you elaborate on the value of Infrascale's solution?

Shaw:  Backup is hard.  But its way harder than it should be.  There are literally college courses you can take to get trained on how to use the traditional enterprise backup products from Symantec and EMC.  That's crazy.  That creates risk because if the backup process is that hard to do, it means that it may not happen some of the time.  With Infrascale, our platform is so easy to use that channel partners are up and running in minutes.  There are no college courses, arcane procedures or cryptic processes.  We have literally observed an IT administrator install and protect an entire VMware environment in 6 minutes.

Consider the perspective of the "IT guy".  You're tasked with putting in place server and endpoint backup, archive tools, secure file sharing, and in some cases a full-blown disaster recovery solution.  And even just with server backup, you might have to deploy different specialized solutions for different operating systems, for physical servers and for virtual servers.  You're therefore forced to establish relationships with multiple vendors.  You have different contractual relationships to establish, different products to learn and manage, different support teams to reach out to for help, etc.  Vendor overload.  Infrascale provides a complete data protection platform that provides out-of-the-box support for online backup, archiving, and file-sharing and full-on multi-site disaster recovery.  One vendor - all environments. One support team regardless of issue. One invoice. One throat to choke no matter what.

We provide a turnkey backup/recovery and disaster recovery solution at a very attractive price to the channel partner, which includes access to all of our capabilities and cloud storage.  There are no extra public cloud storage or data transfer fees and no extra on-premise hardware cost.  This allows our partners to earn very high margins compared to alternative solutions.

VMblog:  That leads me to my next question. I read a recent press release about the addition of VMware capabilities to your platform. Can you tell me a little more about how this fits into Infrascale's Data Protection Platform?

Shaw:  The Infrascale VMware Backup module extends our Platform's coverage to include VMware virtual environments.   Backed up data replicates to the Infrascale cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud - as with the rest of our platform.  Our channel partners continue to use the same management dashboard to configure, deploy, manage and report on VMware backups.

The major difference is that whereas our current platform encrypts and backs up data directly to the cloud, this module first backs up data onto a local, on-premise virtual appliance where it is de-duplicated and encrypted, and then replicated into the cloud.  This is so that we can provide a very quick time-to-protect and recovery time objectives for large VMware environments.

From a business perspective, Infrascale VMware Backup equips channel partners with a margin-rich, cloud connected VMware backup solution that is simple to purchase, deploy and use. We are targeting MSPs who are looking to provide a superior level of backup and disaster recovery services to their clients. Infrascale VMware Backup is ideal for MSPs with clients who have a mix of VMware and physical servers, have more than 3 VMware guests, who are running ESXi free hosts (or hosts that use VMware's Physical Compatibility Mode / Raw Device Mapping configuration), require a quick RTO and/or tight RPO, or who desire redundant (replicated) backups.

Infrascale VMware Backup offers:

  • A margin rich solution at only $99/month/host
  • A simple, completely turnkey solution
  • A cloud-connected solution with flexible offsite replication options

VMblog:  What's in store for Infrascale going into 2015?

Shaw:  Continued expansion within North America and internationally. We have opened a series of international sales offices and we will be continuing on that track. We will also continue to invest in those foreign markets and scale up our North American presence. Most of the capital that we raised in the Series B will go to sales and marketing expansion along with R&D for technology. We raised a nice amount of capital that allows us to really invest in growth and technology.

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Once again, thanks to Ken Shaw, CEO of Infrascale, for taking time to speak with VMblog and answer a few questions.

Published Thursday, October 09, 2014 12:30 PM by David Marshall
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