Amazon Simple Storage Service on MSPmentorWhile some managed service providers are wary of Amazon.com, a growing number of MSP software companies see strong potential for the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon cloud services and distribution services. Two prime examples:
  • Vembu, which makes storage software for MSPs, has announced support for S3.
  • Clean Machine Inc. has signed a national (US) distribution Amazon.com.
Here's a closer look at each deal, and their implications for managed service providers.

For several months I've hinted Vembu planned to plug its StoreGrid backup software into the Amazon S3 cloud. Now, it's happening. Vembu on October 29 will announce a beta release of StoreGid Cloud AMI for Amazon's Cloud Computing Infrastructure.

Here are some highlights from the forthcoming announcement:
  • To date, most Vembu customers (VARs and MSPs) host StoreGrid in their own data centers and offer online backup services to their customers.
  • With StoreGrid Cloud AMI, Vembu claims, any IT solution provider can now start an online backup service without any capital investment.
Now here's an important twist: Vembu is not suggesting that all storage services will shift to the cloud. Rather, there will be a hybrid approach -- where some VARs continue to maintain their own storage data centers while leveraging Amazon for replication services for additional recovery and contigency planning services.

That hybrid approach -- mixing on-premise with cloud services -- is a key industry trend. Symantec, for instance, is creating hooks between its on-premise (Backup Exec) and cloud (Symantec Protection Network) storage services.

Vembu's own corporate blog offers more info about the StoreGrid/Amazon strategy.

Side note: Nirvanix and Moonwalk are also making storage management moves with Amazon S3.

Clean Machine Jumps In

Meanwhile, Clean Machine Inc. has entered a slightly different relationship with Amazon. The Far Hills, N.J.-based company now offers its annual PC protection service through Amazon.com.

Clean Machine's software protects PCs, Macintoshes and peripherals from adware, spyware, viruses and other performance issues.

Some managed service providers are embracing Clean Machine's software as a tool to safeguard customer networks. And while Clean Machine isn't very well known in the MSP industry, take note: CEO Larry Gordon is a veteran of Cognizant Technology Solutions -- which emerged as one of the top IT outsourcing firms in the 1990s.

Now, he's taking that big enterprise experience into the small business and consumer IT services markets.

Amazon: Friend or Foe?

Despite the growing momentum around Amazon as a cloud service provider and IT distributor, some managed service providers fear the online giant. Many MSPs attending the N-able Partner Summit in Dallas last week expressed concern about competing with Amazon.

I don't understand the fear. Shop around and try to understand the various approaches to online storage. More important than cost, determine determine where the data lives, how it's secured and how you maintain control of the information. Whether you embrace or reject Amazon's strategy, don't ignore it.

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