Assigra says ....
This was sent to me by Eran Farajun, executive VP at managed backup provider Asigra (www.asigra.com) who had his own thoughts about the i365 channel business model. They follow on below.
i365 has an evolving channel partner model and it remains to be seen (over a 3-5 year timeline) whether they are indeed committed to working with VARs in a clean model or if this will ultimately amount to another way of seeding the market for i365 to take the customers direct. Why do I say this?
Let's look at their record. When they first stepped into the UK market, they worked with InTechnology and others who helped them build their market in the UK. Then they opened their own offices and "vaults" in the UK and started to sell direct and compete with their own partners. Now let's look even further back in history, across the pond in North America. i365 is a service provider and regularly competes with their service provider partners on deals. What happens if a partner no longer wants to work with i365?
The customer data is already in i365's vaults, so it ends up staying there, and the VAR is left with the choice of either "forcing" their customer to re-backup their data to another backup provider, or the VAR opens up his own "vault" and then needs to re-backup the customers data (never a pleasant task). Or the VAR can just "give up" the customer and concede to i365 (VAR loses). It seems that i365 is not consistent in their channel strategy, and their history shows it.
For Seagate, which is a global company, to have a "direct" approach in the USA/Canada, and a direct & channel approach in Europe is confusing. It feels like "we'll try this and see what happens. If we don't like it, we'll do what we did in the USA and continue to go direct." For the VAR to be replicating "their" vault to i365 may be seen as a camouflaged "seeding" and i365 can then possibly elect to go direct later if it wishes to do so (they have vaults in Europe -- are they shutting them down and migrating current direct customers to VARs? Not likely.).
Is i365 giving any guarantees that it will never sell directly to the VARs' customers? (whose data i365 has a copy of).
The key question is: why can't a partner elect *not* to replicate to i365?
The answer? Because replicating to i365 is a recurring revenue to them and just a way to have the partner "pay" for the software in a different way. This is good for i365. But is it good for VARs? We'll know in 3-5 years. So in summary, i365 is an *evolving* channel program and has a history with an inconsistent past and inconsistent actions in different markets. Some historians hold that history evolves. Others hold that history just repeats itself. If not managed carefully, a "hot needle" can easily burn you. There are alternatives for those partners who don't want to risk their customer relationships (i.e. their currency) but want to deliver their own cloud backup service and keep the profits in-house without looking over their shoulder.