White Servers from Intel Now Available with Tightly Integrated InMage Software
On March 19, 2012, Intel and InMage introduced a packaged solution at Intel Solution Summit that intrigued me. InMage, as we know, is a data protection software vendor that has been in the industry for 6+ years. Their software suite called Scout is essentially a server based CDP that eliminates backup windows and allows for very rapid (in most cases instant) recovery. Recovery snapshot capability is built in, as is replication, failover and failback. One product to solve both backup/recovery and replication issues. Over the past few years they extended the solution to include Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer support. So what is a data protection vendor doing with Intel?
Before we look deeper into this Intel/InMage relationship let's spend a moment on InMage. The company has mostly focused on the SME space, even though over the years it has built a good enterprise level clientele as well. They survived the 2008-2009 collapse that killed many smaller storage companies and continue on a steady growth path. But then I see this Intel/ InMage partnership which stands out. So I looked deeper into what it is and whether it is important.
Essentially, InMage has tightly integrated their Scout software with Intel's server management and storage management software. That means anytime an Intel server chassis or a board ships to one of its partners (thousands around the world but not the ones with their own brand, such as Dell, HP, IBM), data protection is bundled in. This is the first time we have seen this level of integration between servers and data protection software coming from a white box server vendor. Frankly, it is even rare from the name brand server vendors since their VARs generally want the option to choose which data protection software is best suited for the customer. In this case, the server ships with the integrated software.
I think the implications are serious. First of all, I think it is a coup for InMage. In a flash, their software will permeate tens of thousands of servers worldwide. Intel will do all the marketing while InMage gets to focus on building the best possible SMB data protection solution. While the per-server margin is probably small there are near-zero marketing and selling costs, and at expected volumes, net margins would likely be in tens of millions, in our estimate.
I expect this will have a strong net positive effect on both Intel partners and InMage's other selling efforts. Integration by Intel at this level is proof point that the product has been put through the paces and works. A lot of these Intel servers and boards end up at SMB/SME type customers who don't have expert IT capability. They will likely welcome such integration, especially when it is supported by Intel. We also understand that the request for this integration originated from Intel Technology Partners (ITPs) who felt this deep integration would allow them to compete more effectively with name brand server vendors and improve their margins to boot. So we see Intel, ITP, InMage and most importantly, the end user winning out with this strategy.
And, of course, InMage suddenly became a serious competitor in a market space that is littered with a ton of riff-raff.
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