MSPs continue to crave cloud-based backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services. The market is growing. But there are quite a few vendors pursuing MSPs as customers. And some BDR vendors have had layoffs or pulled out of selected geographies over the past year. Meanwhile, public clouds like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Rackspace are gaining credibility with large enterprises AND start-up businesses that have no legacy infrastructure. How will this story play out for MSPs in the BDR market? The latest clue comes from Veeam. Here's why.

First, a reality check. I do believe the cloud storage and BDR markets will enjoy double-digit growth for years to come. We've seen some hiccups along the way: Zenith Infotech's bond default of 2011. Doyenz pulling out of Europe before the company's assets were acquired in 2012. And this week Intronis has cut sales staff after the company took a close look at the ROI of cold calling and event-driven lead generation efforts.

Each time there's a hiccup a lot of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) emerges. But each time MSPs have largely navigated the hiccups with little or no business impact. And many BDR/cloud-based companies are growing and hiring.

The Road Ahead

So what's next? I think it goes something like this: MSPs will continue to leverage on-premises software agents and appliances to back up and restore information locally. They'll also link those appliances and software agents to the supplying vendors' respective storage clouds. But we'll also start to see open APIs, allowing those on-premises appliances and applications to link to third-party clouds like Amazon and Rackspace.

The latest evidence has already arrived. Veeam, which develops on-premises backup and replication software for VMware vSphere and Windows Server Hyper-V, has launched a cloud edition. It supports 15 different public storage clouds including Windows Azure, Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Rackspace and HP Cloud. Also impressive: Veeam plans to support industry standard OpenStack clouds.

Will Customers Trust Public Clouds?

I hear the following comment all the time from the IT channel: "My customers are not going to trust their data stored in public clouds."

I respectfully disagree. Some customers are making the move now. More will make the move -- in massive waves -- over the next six to 12 months. The Amazon AWS re:Invent event in November 2012 attracted 5,000 partners, including a growing number of MSPs and VARs that are plugging their systems -- and customer systems -- into the cloud.

Veeam is signing up 1,000 new customers per month for on-premises backup of virtualized servers. You read it right: 1,000 new customers per month. Starting now, Veeam channel partners can link those on-premises back-ups to 15 different public clouds. That's a powerful story for customers who want choice out in the cloud. And the OpenStack support means, in theory, that customers will be able to easily move their data from one public cloud to another if they so choose.

Asking About Cloud APIs?

I am not suggesting that MSPs should abandon BDR companies that have their own proprietary clouds. Those BDR companies, in most cases, are incredibly loyal to MSPs. Their solutions and services work. But Veeam's business model -- plugging into all those public clouds -- is a wakeup call for MSPs.

If I had to guess, I think many BDR companies will continue to run their own clouds while also starting to support APIs to larger public cloud. Again, that's just my guess.

Whatever your opinion, I think the next BDR and cloud backup inflection point is coming. Rapidly. Veeam's move to support 15 public clouds is just the start.