My previous post about the value-add of online backup got me thinking about another series of conversations I’ve had recently about data storage SaaS in general (more on the compliance and archiving side than in backup, per se).
One value prop I hadn’t really thought about was suggested to me today by Jim Till, CMO of a company called Xythos. Xythos began as a SaaS-architected content management product during the tech bubble, watched that bubble and the market for storage service providers burst, re-architected for on-premise deployment at midsized to large enterprises, and is just now coming full circle with a SaaS offering again. Till said that customers of Xythos’s online product tend to be small organizations or remote and branch offices of larger organizations.
But in addition to the bandwidth issue, Till said, the reason organizations cite for going to a service for storage has little to do with bandwidth or expertise. He says the uptake has been among organizations relatively small in manpower but in “knowledge manager” industries such as tech consulting, law, or medicine. “They tend to be organizations where the biggest challenge is that standard methods of content storage aren’t accessible to distributed groups of people, and they need to uniformly apply policy against distributed content,” he said.
Any organization with data that’s widely distributed is unlikely to have a lot of data in one place. But it’s the distribution of that data, not its size or the experience of data management staff, that makes SaaS make sense, at least from Till’s point of view.
At least one recent case study I did on email archiving SaaS is consistent with this picture, too. For one of Fortiva’s email archiving SaaS customers, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the problem wasn’t a 1.5 TB Exchange store, but 25,00 full and part-time employees receiving 12 million inbound messages a year at 103 different locations.
If this becomes a trend, the landscape of SaaS vendors might extend beyond traditional on-premise backup vendors to those who sell storage consolidation and accessibility over a wide area, such as Riverbed and Silver Peak.
Now, wouldn’t that be fun?