As the hype surrounding cloud computing has grown, so has the number of trade bodies and consortiums intent on finding ways to regulate and support the growth of this burgeoning part of the industry.
Over the past 12 months, the channel has witnessed the arrival of the Federation Against Software Theft’s (Fast) Cloud Industry Forum, The Common Assurance Metric and the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA) Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI).
The latter was followed up by SNIA last month with the launch of a spin-off organisation called the Cloud Backup and Recovery Special Interest Group (CBURSIG).
Its aim is to educate end users about the benefits of this portion of the online storage industry and, in turn, accelerate its adoption.
To achieve this, CBURSIG chairman Ashar Baig said the consortium is working towards developing a definition of online backup and recovery.
“The term cloud backup means different things to different people, which is confusing and off-putting for users. Having a standard definition in place will bring clarity to the market,” he said.
The definition will cover how cloud-based disaster recovery services are accessed, developed, paid for and secured, with CBURSIG relying on its partners to promote it to the channel.
“We want our members to evangelise these characteristics to the rest of the world and promote it as the standard definition for cloud backup worldwide,” added Baig.
Amrita Chandra, senior director of corporate marketing at CBURSIG founding member Asigra, said clearing up the ambiguity surrounding cloud will benefit VARs.
“If end users have a clearer picture of what cloud backup is, it will speed up the sales cycle because VARs’ customers will already understand what it is they are being sold,” she explained.
However, Sharad Saggar, managing director of disaster recovery vendor Core Consultancy, is not convinced by what the group is trying to do.
“There is nothing wrong with wanting to educate people and promote knowledge, but we have been dealing in online backup for eight years and it is not a new technology,” he said.
“It seems to me like they are trying to reinvent a technology that already exists by giving it a cloud spin.”
Spreading the message
CBURSIG is keen to attract more members, according to Baig, including vendors, resellers and cloud service providers, as it looks to spread its message to a wider audience.
Membership to the group is free to join for analysts and end users. However,
channel companies interested in signing up must be a member of SNIA and CSI
“The membership rate is dependent on the size of the company, based on its annual revenues, and whether or not they want to be a voting or non-voting member,” added Baig.
Asigra’s Chandra said many of the big hitters in the online backup space have already signed up, but there is still room for more niche players.
“The group will provide a forum that allows companies to share use cases and best practice with their peers, which will benefit vendors and channel firms of all sizes,” she added.
Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst Quocirca, has concerns that the group could be hijacked by members using it as a platform for self-promotion.
“Problems could arise if those driving the group want their solutions to be seen as the right ones and the advice they offer becomes self-serving,” he said. “It could lead to fallings out if other members feel their offerings are seen as being of lesser use.”
The group also needs to ensure that its members are representative of the entire online disaster recovery market, warned Longbottom.
Range of offerings
“At the moment, there is a range of offerings from vendors covering the consumer and SME space to the high-end backup systems. The group has to make sure it encompasses all of these and helps end users to understand the differences.”
The group counts storage heavyweights NetApp and EMC, as well as online backup veterans CoreVault and Recovery Networks, among its members.
Roland Sars, director of sales and marketing at online backup vendor BackUpAgent, has also expressed an interest in adding his company’s name to that list.
“We are in the same marketplace as the other vendors involved and stand to benefit from the work it is doing,” he said.
“But its activities need to be executed properly with good communication established between members and clear ideas about how to go about educating end users to succeed.”
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