The pricing of storage has always been somewhat problematic. Storage vendors would charge a significant markup over the basic price of hard drive. Customers would then visit their local store only to discover that the cost per Gigabyte for a hard drive was substantially less. Even allowing for the investment storage vendors make in software and controllers, many customers felt they were being take advantage of by storage vendors and their channel partners.

We’re now seeing an explosion in the amount of data organizations are creating and more than few of them are concerned about having to continue to pay for storage on per-Gigabyte basis regardless of whether that data is stored locally or in the cloud. The good news is the economics of storage is reaching the point where pricing it on a per-Gigabyte basis is increasingly obsolete.

Case in point is Intronis, a provider of data protection software delivered as cloud service via the channel. This week the company announced that it would make a U2 Plan on a new Intronis ECHOplatform available for a flat fee per location supported. Rather than having an increasingly awkward conversation about pricing, Aaron Dun, chief marketing officer for Intronis, said the idea is to allow both the IT service provider and the customer to focus more on the value of the service being provided.

The Intronis ECHOplatform provides an open application programming interface (API) for access online backup services, seamless integration professional service automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools and a management portal that provides a single pane of glass view for all account activity.

With the advent of low-cost 6TB drives and street pricing for Flash storage approaching $1 per Gigabyte, it’s not in the interest of cloud storage providers to focus on cost per Gigabyte. Large cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google are eventually going to pound storage pricing down to somewhere around a penny a Gigabyte.

To succeed the discussion has to be about the value of the service being provided and all the local touch that goes with it. To that end Intronis this week also made available a raft of partner enablement tools designed to help channel partners sell cloud backup services with a better customer experience than what they are ever likely to get from a large infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) vendor.

No matter what the size of the customer, the simple fact is that data protection is more complex today than ever. In addition to there existing more data than ever, there are also more types of data. And while backing up data is one thing, most customers still need a lot of hand-holding when it comes to actually recovering anything. The opportunity for channel partners is to deliver a service that not only provides access to storage in the cloud, but, more importantly, on behalf of the customer manages the entire backup and recovery process on a truly turnkey basis.