Microsoft Acquisition Signals Dawn of a New Era for RaaS

By Joshua Geist, CEO Geminare

Microsoft recently announced its acquisition of InMage, a San Jose-based business continuity vendor whose technology is used by numerous partners, including SunGard and Hitachi, as a component of their disaster recovery service offerings. Read the Microsoft announcement here. The core offering from InMage is their system that helps businesses rapidly recover data to local systems or fail over to remote sites.

Microsoft’s plan is to integrate InMage’s flagship offering into its Azure Cloud Platform allowing a more robust and flexible way for customers and partners to leverage Azure for RaaS. Microsoft will re-launch its Hyper-V Recovery Manager as a new offering, with InMage capabilities, as: Azure Site Recovery, a cloud-based alternative to traditional build-it disaster recovery solutions.

A few months ago, I posted a blog entitled RaaS – Say Hello to the Public Cloud, in which I stated that RaaS use of the public cloud was inevitable.  Microsoft’s acquisition has now made my prediction a reality, and it signals the dawn of a new era for RaaS–one that will lead inevitably lead to explosive market growth and the further entrenchment of RaaS as the de facto standard for BC/DR solutions. One need only look at plummeting earnings from the traditional disaster recovery vendors and providers to see why this movement towards RaaS is so critical.

Market analyst Technavio projects that the global RaaS market will reach $5.7B by 2018, reflecting a CAGR of 54.7%, and its no doubt that this kind of massive market opportunity helped fuel Microsoft’s acquisition. It’s clear that the technology behemoth expects Azure Site Recovery to capture a large chunk of the hybrid/public cloud share of the burgeoning RaaS market.

As we have frequently seen among the top Cloud providers, the Cloud realm is a fiercely competitive marketplace that typically results in an action/reaction from the big providers. So while Microsoft’s competitors contemplate how to best counteract the software giant’s aggressive entry into the RaaS Public Cloud market, let me share some thoughts on what’s really behind the Microsoft acquisition, and what should be on the minds of the software giant’s competition.

Data. It’s all about the data.

Years ago, when Microsoft was a younger company, its core strategy was to control the desktop. When threatened by companies like Netscape, whose browser heralded the start of the Internet that we know and love today, Microsoft steam-rolled the young start-up by offering its browser, Explorer, for FREE, destroying Netscape’s revenue model and effectively ending its brief run as the market leader in “desktop (or data) control.”  In our connected world, the desktop is no longer a factor in the world of data. It’s all about the Cloud.

Today, Microsoft trails the market leaders in terms of total data housed in its public cloud, but the company is gaining share and its own RaaS offering will undoubtedly accelerate its overall growth in this important space. An expression that was often coined in the early Internet days is as true today as it was back then: “He who controls the data, controls the customer.” History is not lost on Microsoft.