Interview with a Rubrik MSP channel partner

Blocks & Files had the opportunity to meet and interview Simon Chappell, the CEO of Managed Service Provider (MSP) Assured Data Protection which bases its services on Rubrik’s software. We were interested to find out why the company adopted the MSP business model, why it selected Rubrik’s SW, deal registration and what Chappell thought about the cloud titans (AWS, Azure and GCP) entering the data protection market.

Blocks & Files: Could you explain why you adopted the MSP business model when you set up Assured Data Protection?

Simon Chappell

Simon Chappell: The two founding team members of Assured Data Protection each have over two decades of experience in running a data protection as a service company. As a senior group, we add over 200 years of know how in this space. We know it’s hard to do, but we enjoy the challenge of delivering exceptional service to our customers. It has also been said that we also don’t know how to do anything else! 

Blocks & Files: What criteria did you use to choose a backup software supplier?

Simon Chappell: The fundamental requirement has not changed in all the time we have been delivering as an MSP. We require a technology that protects and restores without failure. As technology improves, the demands of our customers are rightly increasing to add additional speed and ease of restore as well as certainty into the requirements. 

Blocks & Files: Which suppliers were on your short list and why? 

Simon Chappell: When we set up in 2015, we spent a long time considering all the established major backup players and all the emerging next generation data protection vendors present at the time. If you look at the top right of the current Gartner Magic Quadrant, we either knew of or investigated in depth every single vendor. Combining that list with our own vast amount of experience in this space, we were able to make up our short list.

Blocks & Files: What reasons led you to choose Rubrik over Cohesity and Veeam?

Simon Chappell: To put it simply, Rubrik’s team and vision made the difference for us. I made an instant personal connection with Bipul Sinha, Rubrik’s CEO, and our senior technical team made similar connections with the Rubrik senior engineers. It was exciting to team up with such well-funded visionaries. Looking back six years to that initial meeting, it’s amazing to think the big bet we took on a young Rubrik has paid off exactly as we hoped.

Blocks & Files: What is Assured’s USP compared to other backup-as-a-service suppliers?

Simon Chappell: We live in the Enterprise and Mid Market. This creates demands on us in terms of delivery and execution, and we strive to be an extension of our customer’s IT teams. We also have our own proprietary technology called ProtectView which is our single pane of glass management platform, which allows a view into a company’s backup and overall data protection status in one place at a single glance.

Blocks & Files: Do you think Amazon will enter the backup business and why?

Simon Chappell: I’m sure they will focus on the backup space … and in fact they already have established a very strong team. We are developing close relationships with AWS and Microsoft, and the interesting part will be to see if they extend their reach out of the Cloud and into the data centre. 

Blocks & Files: If Amazon (and Azure and GCP) enter the backup business how will Assured survive and prosper? What will be Assured’s USP then?

Simon Chappell: The hyperscalers are already offering protection of their native workloads – our current job is to help our customers manage, remediate and report on these. Almost all our customers have hybrid cloud infrastructure at the moment (with varying degrees of workloads still on premises) so our job is more important than ever to present a consistent, verifiable and tested picture of data protection.

Blocks & Files: Could you explain how you view Microsoft’s investment in Rubrik and what it might portend?

Simon Chappell: We were very excited by the announcement. Deeper ties between Microsoft and Rubrik can only be good news for Assured Data Protection, as we are experts in managing and delivering on both platforms.

Blocks & Files: Are you geographically limited in Assured’s operations?

Simon Chappell: We have twin HQs in the UK and US, but operate 24/7 in over 40 countries where we have existing deployments. We also have data centre infrastructure in six worldwide locations, so we are truly global in our reach.

Blocks & Files: How can a software supplier to MSPs organise their MSP channel to prevent poaching? I’m thinking of things like deal registration in an on-premises product suppliers’ channel partner organisation. Is the equivalent possible in the MSP world? Geographic territories for example, or vertical market niches?

Simon Chappell: I believe it’s hard to replicate traditional vendor deal registration programmes in the MSP world as our service wrap is such an important part of any deal. I think it’s hard to tie down to geographic territory as ultimately many deals we do involve multiple global locations. On vertical assignment is equally difficult as every business has critical data irrespective of the sector they operate in.