One of the biggest challenges software vendors face is declining revenues stemming from sales of their premises-based solutions, as customers increasingly look to Cloud-based SaaS offerings as a preferred way of doing business. The Data Protection world is no exception, and this challenge was well articulated by one prominent player, Double-Take, Software Inc. (since acquired by Vision Solutions) in its 2009 Annual Report
, stating “ revenues from software licenses dropping ~25% year over year, leading to maintenance/professional services revenues representing the majority of the company’s overall gross income.” The economic downturn was cited as a major contributor to this revenue drop, but Double-Take’s Annual Report also identified the emergence of a new risk to the business, further stating, “The adoption of the cloud computing paradigm by our customers or potential customers could result in a decline for demand of our software and services…If we are unable to adapt our software, services and business model to the cloud computing paradigm, the demand for our software and services could decline, which would negatively impact our results of operations.”
Apt foreshadowing indeed as 2011 saw the massive rise of Recovery as a Service (RaaS) as the preferred way to protect data, with major analysts such as John Morency, Gartner’s Research Vice President predicting its market dominance. In September 2011, Morency stated, “By 2014, 30 percent of midsize companies will have adopted recovery-in-the-cloud, also known as Recovery as a Service (RaaS), to support IT operations recovery, up from just over 1 percent today.”
Others in the data protection software business clearly saw the same risk as Double-Take, but until today’s launch of CA’s ARCserve® D2D On Demand
– a hybrid offering of on-site and cloud-enabled online backup, none of the major players have solved the dilemma of transitioning their on premises legacy software products into true cloud services. Moreover, CA has recognized that in order to maintain their existing customer and partner base, it was necessary to build a hybrid technology model and to accommodate a hybrid channel model. This new hybrid model allows CA’s entire partner base to continue to order through their distributors and VARs, as they have become accustomed to. By integrating its award-winning CA ARCserve® D2D software with the Global Microsoft Azure Cloud, CA has become the first Data Protection software provider to offer a true Cloud-based Data Recovery as a Service offering that allows partners to continue operating in their comfortable channel ecosystem while migrating customers to the Cloud. It’s a brilliant move, made even bolder by the union with industry giant, Microsoft, whose Azure Cloud has been described as “kick-butt.” http://gigaom.com/cloud/dont-look-now-but-microsoft-azure-is-a-kick-butt-cloud/
CA has thrown down the gauntlet and it’s a big one. Why look at other solutions when you can continue to work with trusted partners, solutions and channel process that have worked for so many years? The question now is can its competitors step up and conquer their own “transitioning-to-the-Cloud” challenges? If they can’t, the race for Cloud Data Protection supremacy may have already been won.