Maxava Building Its Own Cloud For IBM i High Availability
May 6, 2015 Alex Woodie
Maxava is no newbie in the cloud. Indeed, it counts hundreds clients whose IBM i data and applications are protected by business partners who run Maxava’s high availability software in their own data centers. But those business partners don’t provide complete coverage around the world, and so Maxava is building its own HA cloud to serve them.
“We’re filling a bit of a gap,” Peter Kania, director of technical services and development, said at a press conference during the COMMON conference held at Disneyland last week. “We’re starting to get into that space ourselves.”
The New Zealand company is installing IBM i servers at locations around the globe to serve as backup machines for its new cloud offering. The machines will be made available to two groups of users: Resellers who have existing relationships with IBM i customers, but who don’t have data center facilities or partnerships with other managed service providers (MSPs) to host the backup machines, and customers who have no resellers or MSP partners to provide the HA-in-the-cloud service.
Kania stressed that Maxava’s preference is to work with clients through existing business partners. They have good relationships, he says, and Maxava wants to leverage those relationships wherever possible to provide the backup IBM i capacity that’s needed in the event of an IT outage or natural disaster.
But where those partnerships don’t exist, Maxava will step in to serve the unmet need for high availability services running in the cloud. “We’re really seeing this line of business pick up,” Kania says. “We’re starting to get into that space ourselves.”
The company has already installed an IBM i server in New Zealand to serve that country, as well as Australian IBM i shops who desire geographic separation from their primary servers. Maxava is also in the process of installing three other IBM i servers, in Australia, the UK, and the US, he says.
Maxava has, arguably, the biggest installed base of HA customers in the cloud. Its biggest competitor, Vision Solutions, has not been as aggressive as Maxava in pursuing a cloud strategy, opting instead to protect more lucrative sales of on-premise software licenses. Although Vision has started to change its strategy, it has ceded some early ground to Maxava in this area.
Several years ago, Maxava tallied up its clients for IT Jungle and found it had between 150 and 200 customers. Most of those were served by a single business partner, Sungard Public Sector, which develops an IBM i-based application for state and local governments and public safety agencies. But besides Sungard PS, the company works with a number of large and well-known MSPs, including Baseline Data Services, Meridian Group International, mindSHIFT Technologies (now part of Best Buy), and Symmetry, among others.
High availability and disaster recovery (DR) are some of the most popular services in the cloud. But DRaaS and HAaaS have been out of reach of some of the smaller resellers. This is what spurred Maxava to create a hybrid cloud, so to speak, says John Dominic, Maxava’s vice president of North American sales.
“The cloud service we are piloting is specifically for our resellers and VARs,” Dominic tells IT Jungle. “Most of them have traditionally resold hardware to a small client base for years. But now, clients are moving in droves to hybrid clouds. This program will allow those resellers and VARs to ‘resell’ a cloud service so that they can still own the relationship with their hardware customers who need to move to cloud. Otherwise, the VARs have to surrender their relationships to MSPs.”
The reason Maxava created this offering was to give traditional IBM i resellers a solution to offer to their clients, Dominic says. “We have found that many are being asked for ‘cloud’ solutions, which they currently cannot provide,” he continues. “We see the relationships and market reach that traditional channels have as a strength of the IBM i community and we want to work with these channels to sustain and grow business for both of us.”