When it Comes to Backup, the Smart Money is on Rapid Reliable Recovery; Interview with StorageCraft’s Chief Evangelist Matt Urmston, Part 3

Matt Urmston, StorageCraft’s Chief Evangelist and Director of Product Management, has worked in a variety of roles in backup, archiving, data recovery and high availability. In this third blog entry of this interview series, Matt emphasizes that StorageCraft’s value is in the recovery process–getting systems back online quickly and efficiently, and having that work every time.
Charley: What do you hear as customers’ reasons for choosing your company?
Matt: I can tell you that across the board the one thing that we always hear back from StorageCraft customers is, “It just works.” The product does what it is supposed to do.
Your question is interesting because a lot of people are out evaluating backup software. Often times their testing will be heavy on the backup aspect. “How long does it take to run a backup job? Do I see a lot of additional processor cycles being used? Is there a lot of IO? Is it dragging my system to its knees?” This becomes the main focus and extent of the evaluation–it is all about the backup and the performance impact backup is going to have on the systems. They say, “Okay, I have my backup and that all works great.
Many companies will make buying decisions based on the backup aspects of a particular solution, where really they need to be evaluating recovery. In most cases when they compare the recovery process between StorageCraft and one of its competitors, they quickly realize that StorageCraft’s value is in the recovery process–getting systems back online quickly and efficiently, and having that work every time.
StorageCraft also has had partners who occasionally get wooed away to a  competitor because of pricing. We’ve seen some of our competitors get pretty aggressive, especially when they’re going after managed service providers (MSPs). StorageCraft had a few who have come to us and said, “Listen, I’m negotiating prices with this competitor, is there any way you guys can try to match their pricing?
Although StorageCraft works very closely with our partners during sales cycles and do what we can to help them win business, there have been times that we’ve just had to say ‘no’.  StorageCraft is comfortable where it is at with its pricing and technology and what it is offering. In most cases those partners have come back after they have had a customer’s system go down and they had to perform a recovery.
Charley: What products do you compete against?
Matt: It kind of goes in waves. It is really interesting. We will have some competitor crop up, we will have an account rep say, “Hey listen, I am really getting beat up by AppAssure.” For a while AppAssure was a big competitor. There was a time  when they were making a big push, but then they kind of went away. We do not  run into them much anymore.
Acronis traditionally is a competitor. StorageCraft would go head to head in competitive situations with them. They have also just kind of drifted away. I do not know if they have made some decisions to try to go after some larger environments or not, but StorageCraft does not really run into them a whole lot anymore.
Symantec’s System Recovery has been a direct competitor in the past as well. But, as with  so many other competitors we have been comfortable with our ability to win deals against them just based on our reputation for reliability when it comes to recovery.
Those are StorageCraft’s traditional competitors. Some that are cropping up now are in the Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) space where they are offering backup appliances. Then there are a lot of smaller players or newcomers that  will pop up on certain deals. It’s rare to have a week go by that I don’t get that email with a company name in the subject line asking “Have you ever heard of these guys?”
But today if you were to ask our sales team who they are running into most often, it is probably going to be Unitrends, Veeam, or Axcient. There really seems to be a trend toward the hardware solutions.
Charley: Are you looking to move into hardware?
Matt: This is a recurring topic of discussion internally. I believe the first time StorageCraft talked about offering a BDR device it was about two years ago. StorageCraft decided it is not interested in getting into the hardware business because of low margins, refreshes, maintenance, etc.  Plus we have some great partners who are already providing hardware solutions based on StorageCraft Technology.
As we include our partners in this discussion, especially our MSP partners, for the most part they are saying, “Do not force me into using hardware that I am not familiar with or a device that doesn’t meet my standards.  I already have relationships with Dell or whoever it might be. Let me buy the hardware.” Most MSPs are already providing hardware to their customer. They know what type of hardware they like to use and support.
In Part I of DCIG’s executive interview with StorageCraft’s Chief Evangelist, Matt Urmston, he explained the features that ShadowProtect offers to minimize or even eliminate the possibility of users encountering BSODs when conducting a recovery.
In Part II of this interview series, we expanded on how StorageCraft uses ImageManager to provide a full DR solution that can offer rapid recovery in less than five minutes, and also how ShadowProtect performs equally well whether it’s placed in a physical or virtual environment.
In Part IV of this interview series, we delve into how StorageCraft fits itself into the cloud storage landscape and what cloud replication looks like for backup and recovery.

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