Software as a Service: CA's New Channel-Led SAAS offering

There are advantages for CA Inc. in not being first to the party with a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering for its channel partners. "We've watched what others have done with SaaS," says Bill Lipsin, corporate vice president for global channels with CA. "One of the areas of concern that we've heard was customer ownership."

Lipsin and his colleagues with Islandia, N.Y.-based CA hope they've found the right channel formula with their new SaaS business-continuity and disaster-recovery solution, called CA Instant Recovery on Demand. The solution is the most channel-friendly of three SaaS offerings rolled out in mid-November by CA at the CA World 2008 event in Las Vegas.

The essential elements of CA Instant Recovery on Demand are that it's offered exclusively through channel partners and that partners handle customer pricing and billing. The product, focused on small and midsize businesses (SMBs), is based on CA XOsoft High Availability technology and Toronto-based Geminare Inc.'s SaaS business continuity platform and hosting facilities. The solution was available in November in North America and Germany. CA plans to roll out the offering in the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific in the first half of this year.

In his CA World keynote speech to about 600 CA channel partners, Lipsin emphasized that the offering is available only through channel partners.

"You retain ownership of the customer, which affords you the opportunity to secure long-term revenue and uncover other opportunities for your product and services."
Bill Lipsin, Corporate Vice President, Global Channels, CA Inc.

"You sell it, we will bill you [and] you in turn bill the client," Lipsin told his audience. "You retain ownership of the customer, which affords you the opportunity to secure long-term revenue and uncover other opportunities for your product and services."

Adam Famularo, senior VP and general manager for CA's recovery management and data modeling business unit, puts CA's reassurance for partners another way: "This program is in no way, shape or form us trying to take the relationship with the end user."

Famularo says the 10,000 partners that are selling CA ARCserve Backup, or companies that are offering managed services, are ideal partners to sell the new SaaS offering. "For ARCserve resellers, this is a perfect complement. You use ARCserve for data backup," he says, adding that CA Instant Recovery on Demand fits the bill for mission-critical business applications that need 100 percent uptime. Managed service providers (MSPs), he says, can tie the SaaS recovery solution into their offerings.

CA expects resellers to make about 30 or 40 points on margin, he says. "It's a really nice margin play, but it kind of has to be," Famularo notes. "When they traditionally sell software, they get the software margins, but then they get services for implementation."

List prices, billed to the partner, range from $400 to $800 per server per month, based on length of commitment and overall number of servers.

The offerings in CA Instant Recovery on Demand tilt heavily toward Microsoft environments. One package offers SaaS-based, real-time replication of data for Windows servers, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft IIS and Oracle. Another package guarantees application availability through automated failover and failback for file servers, Exchange, SQL Server, IIS and Oracle.

Famularo says the SaaS solution will go "well with selling Exchange, BlackBerry Server and any point-of-sale system based on SQL, Oracle or IIS."

The backup offering is just one of three SaaS products announced at CA World. The other two were CA PPM on Demand, a project and portfolio management product, and CA GRC Manager on Demand for governance, risk and compliance management. CA PPM on Demand will be sold directly and indirectly. A few major partners, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, will work with CA on the GRC solution. At first, Lipsin says, CA will take CA GRC Manager on Demand to market through direct sales to "work out the details."

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Something Else up Their Sleeve
CA has another SaaS offering in the planning stages. In 2009, "our Internet security business unit will be the first to market with a SaaS offering for Secure Messaging Services," Lipsin said in Las Vegas.

Lipsin also told the partners at CA World that SaaS may be the right product for the times: "We've all been keeping an eye on the growth of Software as a Service as a force in business software delivery, but I believe that the current economic downturn may be the catalyst for a more rapid adoption."

Lipsin also encouraged partners to take advantage of virtualization management opportunities. CA worked with VMware Inc. and Microsoft to integrate CA ARCserve and CA XOsoft with those companies' virtualization technologies. "Any time you sell VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, you should consider combining that with XOsoft or ARCserve ... and your service attach rates can increase even further," Lipsin said.

About the Author

Anne Stuart, the former executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner, is a business technology freelance writer based in Boston, Mass.