Dell Software Releases AppAssure 5.4 Data Backup Platform

AppAssure 5.4 features a slew upgrades designed to improve replication, optimize performance and reporting, and broaden platform support.

Dell Software announced the launch of AppAssure 5.4, the latest version of the company’s all-in-one backup, replication and disaster recovery software platform.
AppAssure 5.4 features a slew upgrades designed to improve replication, optimize performance and reporting, and broaden platform support.
The latest version is also designed to offer a simplified user experience to help meet the data protection needs of both customers and managed service providers (MSPs).
Additional upgrades include protection schedule templates, nightly mount checks, and reduced memory consumption.

AppAssure 5.4 features multi-target and multi-hop replication capabilities, allowing users to replicate backup data from a single AppAssure core server to multiple target servers.
Other new replication features include scheduled replication that enables users to set customized replication schedules for each target, and advanced replication throttling, which lets users limit the speed of replication in bandwidth-constrained environments.
“Modern data protection is about ensuring that critical data and applications can be quickly recovered in the event of an outage or corruption. Prolonged downtime simply isn’t acceptable,” Srinidhi Vardarajan, general manager of data protection for Dell Software, said in a statement. “That means customers and MSPs not only need solutions that are fast, scalable and reliable, they also need the flexibility to build a program based on the specific recovery needs of their businesses and clients.”
AppAssure 5.4 further empowers MSPs to manage customers’ backup environments with numerous replication, reporting and management enhancements.
In addition, Dell Software now offers a variety of sales tools and training materials tailored specifically for the MSP community, with Accelerite (formally Persistent System’s rCloud), JMK Solutions, Synesis International and Intelice Solutions all recently becoming partners.
The platform also offers support for a wide range of critical systems including VMware ESX 5.5, Oracle VirtualBox, UEFI, RHEL 6.5, and CentOS 6.5.
A series of upgrades provide new and existing users with a more streamlined management experience, such as a new graphical user interface that provides quicker access to the most commonly used areas of the product.
The release also offers dynamic deduplication cache sizing, which helps simplify the configuration process and delivers more optimal performance by automatically selecting the ideal deduplication cache size based on available memory.
“The release of AppAssure 5.4 is the latest example of how Dell Software’s robust portfolio of data protection solutions gives them just that,” Vardarajan continued. “With AppAssure, users can protect data continuously, move data anywhere, and, when the time comes, recover everything and recover it quickly.”

FBI’s Boston office warns businesses of venture capital scams

The FBI’s Boston outpost is warning Boston-area businesses of scams involving malicious foreign venture capitalists. In its push to educate the private sector and raise awareness about economic espionage and cyber counterintelligence, the FBI released the following op-ed to the Boston Business Journal.

Community policing in a high tech world

The FBI recently released a notification to technology companies and research facilities, which include colleges and universities in the Boston area, warning them of the possible perils of entering into joint partnerships with foreign venture capital firms from Russia. The warning was based on the FBI’s growing concern that the purported reasons offered by the Russian partners mask their true intentions. The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies. The Boston area has among the nation’s highest concentration of technology companies, many of which support the defense industry. The warning urged those contacted by Russian venture capitalists to remain vigilant and cognizant of the potential losses and compromises of company assets.

The warning is part of the FBI’s growing alliance with the private sector. The FBI issues dozens of such bulletins every year to help businesses protect their intellectual property and systems from criminal threats. In the past, such information might have been provided to the private sector, but with limited details due to of the restrictions of sharing classified information. With the uptick of economic espionage and export control or “counterproliferation” cases prosecuted in federal courts, the FBI now has the ability to use unclassified and publicly available information to warn businesses and entrepreneurs of the possible perils of partnering with foreign investors. With regard to Russia, the FBI offered this insight, “The offer may seem lucrative at first, but it could also mean the permanent loss of intellectual property rights and manipulation of dual-use technologies.”


Kaspersky Denies Kremlin Ties, Compares Himself to Indiana Jones

Eugene Kaspersky, the head of Russia’s largest cybersecurity firm, is denying that he or his company are closely tied to the Putin government in Moscow.

In a Wednesday post to his English-language blog, Kaspersky claims that my WIRED magazine profile detailing those Kremlin connections was filled with “dozens of misquotes, unsourced comments, personal judgments based on mere opinion – or prejudice – and factual mistakes.”

“Not only did he forget to check his facts, in some cases he wrote almost the opposite of what I actually said in my numerous interviews with him over the past seven months,” he adds.

The security mogul doesn’t mention that his firm, Kaspersky Lab, closely cooperated with WIRED’s fact-checking team on nearly every line of the profile. Moreover, the few specific points of contention Kaspersky now raises with the article are flatly contradicted by both his private and public statements.

For instance, Kaspersky insists in his blog post that neither he nor his world-renowned team of cybersecurity researchers is anything more than tangentially linked to Russia’s government or to its security services.

“Remember ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ with Indiana Jones?” Kaspersky asks. “He was a archeologist — the best on the planet. And that’s why the U.S. military came to him for help; they knew nothing about history or mythology. Well it’s the same for what we do for governments worldwide today – we provide EXPERTISE. Nothing more.” (Emphasis in the original.)


How a digital Cold War with Russia could threaten the IT industry

All the world’s eyes have been on Russia in the last month. The region’s hopeful spirit of international peace and cooperation that was evident during the closure of the Sochi Winter Olympics turned to fear and uncertainty when the Ukraine’s government ousted its president, Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Russian president Vladmir Putin.

This was followed by a referendum and a vote in the Ukraine’s Crimea region to secede from its parent country and to rejoin Russia, overturning the former Soviet Union’s actions under Nikita Khrushchev to make it part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954.

In the last several days, we’ve also seen aggressive moves by Russia to send more troops into the region and confiscate Ukranian military bases and assets.

The reaction by the Western world has been total condemnation of Russia’s activities. The United States has imposed initial financial, economic, and travel sanctions on Russian officials, which include isolating key Russian financial institutions as well as freezing the US assets of Russian and Ukrainian individuals who were directly involved in the Crimean turmoil.

While the European Union has imposed similar travel bans and asset freezes of key Russian individuals, political realities will likely stop them from imposing wider-range sanctions like those the US is threatening, due to their heavy reliance on Russian natural gas.

While the United States, unlike Europe, is not a major consumer of Russian gas exports, it would be simplistic to say that Russia has no impact on US business at all.

A full-on Cold War with Russia and imposition of the kind of wide-ranging sanctions that we currently impose on Iran and other hostile states would actually have a real and costly impact on the technology industry, should the situation degrade further.

Let’s start with Russian software companies themselves.

Many of these have significant marketshare and widespread use within US corporations. Some of these were founded in Russia, while others are headquartered elsewhere but maintain a significant amount of their development presence within Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

If you thought your Y2K mitigation was expensive, wait until your enterprise experiences the Russian Purge.

UK-incorporated Kaspersky Lab, for example, is a major and well-established player in the antivirus/antimalware space. It maintains its international headquarters, and has substantial research and development capabilities, in Russia. It’s also thought that Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder, has strong personal ties to the Putin-controlled government. Kaspersky has repeatedly deniedthese allegations but questions about the man and his company remain and will be a subject of further scrutiny, particulary as US-Russia tensions escalate.

NGINX Inc., while not even three years old, is the support and consulting arm of an open source reverse proxy web server project that is very popular with some of the most high-volume internet services on the planet. The company has offices in San Francisco, but it is based in Moscow.

Parallels, Inc., is a multinational corporation headquartered in Renton, Washington, that focuses extensively on virtualization technology as well as complex management stacks for billing and provisioning automation used by service providers and private clouds running on VMware’s vSphere stack and Microsoft’s CloudOS. However, their primary development labs are in Moscow and Novosibirsk, Russia.

Acronis, like Parallels, was founded in 2002 by Russian software developer and venture capitalist Serguei Beloussov. He left Parallels and became CEO of Acronis in May of 2013. The company specializes in bare metal systems backup, systems deployment and storage management software for Microsoft Windows and Linux and is headquartered in Woburn, MA, a suburb of Boston. However, it has substantial R&D operations in Moscow.

Veeam Software led by Russian-born Ratmir Timashev, concentrates on enterprise backup solutions for VMware and Microsoft hypervisor stacks. Like Parallels and Acronis, it is also a multinational. The company maintains its US headquarters in Columbus, Ohio but much of its R&D is based in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Unitrends talks investment and acquisition

Unitrends sets a stake in the ground with a round of private funding and its acquisition of PHD Virtual

Backup and recovery specialist Unitrends has revealed how a cash injection by a private equity firm, and its subsequent acquisition of PHD Virtual Technologies, is helping to fuel its international growth.

Speaking with Channel Pro, Mark Campbell, Unitrends’ chief strategy and technology officer, said the investment last October by Insight Ventures ensures “we now have a multi-billion dollar fund now backing the company.”

The firm has also bolstered its product offering in recent months. Following the round of funding, Unitrends acquired virtual backup and DR firm PHD Virtual, expanding the vendor’s portfolio of physical, virtual and cloud-based backup and recovery products. As such it now includes a virtual appliance, PHD Virtual Backup 7, which the firm is positioning to compete against market leader Veeam – the difference being it can protect environments using Hyper V, vSphere  and Xen platforms, the latter of which is currently unsupported by its main rival.

“We’ve broadened it out to our resellers, and [we] have this product that does more than Veeam in a virtual environment,” claims Campbell.

Unitrends also acquired a product called Reliable DR, a disaster recovery solution that allows organisations to automatically test their RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) within a VMware environment, at an OS and application level.

“Truly automating recovery is a difficult task… [Post acquisition] we can extend that with automated recovery in the cloud,” says Campbell.

Growth plans

The US vendor has only been in the UK for little more than a year, and now has 12 people employees on the ground. Although the vendor hasn’t publicly stated exactly how much money Insight Ventures ploughed into the business, Campbell says the investment “can really put some gas on the fire” when it comes to its expansion plans.

Globally, Unitrends achieved a 67 percent increase in bookings year-over-year and added more than 1,700 new customers in 2013. In its last quarter (Q4 2013), the company continued its charge toward its target of $100m in annual revenue with a 69 percent increase in bookings, and the addition of 550 new customers.

It currently has 75 channel partners in the UK – a figure that has stayed steady for the past six months, with the vendor unwilling to go hell for leather with an expansive recruitment campaign.

“The key for me when we started the UK market was not to dilute margin, to make sure as a new vendor we were margin-rich, to justify the investment that is required for a new vendor,” explainsKevin Moreau, Unitrends’ managing director for EMEA. “We’re still keen to have that in place.”

“We believe the right way to handle the channel is to make each one of our partners more successful before trying to sign up a thousand partners,” agrees Campbell. “You see companies bragging about how they’ve doubled or tripled their amount of partners, but ninety percent of them only do one deal a year. That’s not how we want to build this company.”

Speaking to Channel Pro last September, Eric Dougherty, vice president of worldwide sales for Unitrends, said the firm will be “much more channel-centric” in Europe than in the US. He added that it is looking for the European market to make up 20 percent of its global business “within a two or three year time frame.”

Unitrends has two distributors in the UK: e92plus and CMS Distribution.


Unitrends Partners Receive $1.5 Million in Cash Awards

COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Unitrends, the industry’s fastest-growing multi-environment data protection company, today announced that just a little over a year after the program’s launch, more than $1.5 million in cash awards were earned by channel representatives worldwide who have participated in the company’s partner loyalty program, UniRewards.

UniRewards enables partners to earn points by engaging in various activities that support the company’s products and services, such as inviting other sales reps to join the program, registering a qualified lead or closing a deal. Members can then redeem their reward points for cash.

“The UniRewards program is by far the most effective incentive program in the industry,” said Gary Pollard, channel manager at DSM Consultants. “It is simple, manageable and, most importantly, obtainable, providing our sales professionals with lucrative income supplements and an ongoing incentive to sell Unitrends’ products and services. I know of no better program for rewarding success.”

Since the program’s launch in February 2013, UniRewards’ members have delivered more than $90 million in new sales pipeline opportunities. This rapid scale can be attributed, in part, to the development of a strategic relationship between Unitrends and Fielo, a provider of cloud-based loyalty programs featuring content, messaging and user experiences delivered on a highly segmented level.

“The Fielo solution has given us the ability to deliver targeted incentives based on the profiles, behaviors and regional differences of our members,” said Bob Gagnon, vice president of channel sales at Unitrends. “After just one year, UniRewards has exceeded our expectations on every account. It’s been a focal point of our channel strategy, delivering measurable and meaningful opportunity creation, channel-based revenue and highly committed partner relationships.”

Key features of the UniRewards loyalty program include:

-- Incentives based on sales cycle goals - UniRewards provides monetary
incentives for a variety of actions and selling behaviors, from initial
lead registration to training to certification.
-- Timely rewards - Partner members receive their cash equivalent points
within days of completing an activity or transaction.
-- Total transparency - Once partners register leads, they gain complete
visibility into the status of those leads throughout the entire cycle.
Partners are also given the name and contact information of the
Unitrends sales representative with whom they will engage.
-- Instant communication and updates - Built-in triggers and alerts notify
both partners and Unitrends sales representatives of updates within the
sales funnel. With aggressive service level agreements (SLAs) to qualify
and convert registered leads, the aggregation of systems and policies
provides an unparalleled user experience.
-- Extreme profitability - Average earnings on a single transaction nets a
partner member up to $7,100 "per appliance" in rewards and margins.
Those selling into the higher end of the market can earn up to $38,000
in rewards and margins "per appliance."
-- Easy-to-use portal - The ease of navigation through online deal
registrations, redemptions and referrals makes the experience highly
attractive to busy sales professionals intent on optimizing their time
when engaging with Unitrends.

“UniRewards’ simple interface and lucrative points system give my sales representatives all the motivation they need to promote Unitrends’ products over any of its competitors,” said Trevor Donnelly, director of business development at Vapor Services. “More pay equals more selling. It’s as simple as that.”

About Fielo Fielo is a Loyalty and Behaviour Management platform conceived and created by Valuenet, an experienced Salesforce partner of 11 years. Valuenet is committed to providing best in class cloud-based software solutions for enhanced business practices, and Fielo has been developed to deliver customized solutions in loyalty & rewards, employee incentives & recognition, community building, lead generation, gamification, customer engagement and consumer retention. Some of the most innovative & fastest growing companies in the world use Fielo to meet the challenges of a highly dynamic & competitive marketplace. 

About Unitrends Unitrends provides physical, virtual and cloud-based protection and recovery for every organization’s most valuable assets: its data and applications. Supported by a “crazy-committed” customer service model based on engagement, experience and excellence, the company consistently achieves a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating and helps everyone play IT safe by delivering the best cost-to-value ratio in the data protection and disaster recovery industry.