In the data protection world, it’s generally accepted wisdom that image-based backups are the industry standard—and they’re the only way to go for those who are serious about recoverability. File- and folder-based backup products are often seen as sufficient only for consumer/home use or for small businesses that don’t mind lengthy downtime when problems arise.
But what if there was a better option, built for managed services providers (MSPs)?
What if you could have full system recovery without the negatives that come along with image-based backup?
While not often discussed, there are definite downsides to image-based backup. If you’ve been taught it’s the only “right” way to protect your systems, you may have accepted these limitations as a matter of course. They fall into two categories: business and technical. We’ll discuss the business downsides to image-based backup in this post and save the technical limitations for a second post.
Best possible levels of service
The foundation of any business’ success is providing the best possible level of service to their customers at the right price—a price that’s affordable for the customer, but supports reasonable margins and profitability for the business. Traditional image-based backups make this more difficult than it needs to be.
First, let’s think about the recovery point objective (RPO) service level you want to deliver. This, of course, is entirely limited by the frequency of your backups. If full image backups take so long that you can only run them once a day, your customers stand to lose a full days’ work when recovering from an outage. How would your customer relationships improve if you could do better than that?
Second, consider the price you need to charge your customers to protect their data and still maintain a reasonable profit margin. If your traditional image-based backup requires you to buy, maintain, expand (and eventually replace) a lot of local data storage hardware, you need to price that into your equation.
If your image-based backup product doesn’t include cloud storage in the price, you‘ll also bear the burden of finding, configuring, and managing cloud storage from another vendor. You may even need to set up your own data center to take customers’ backups off-site. All these costs add up. Beyond the cost of the hardware or cloud storage, consider the time your staff must spend managing them.
In too many cases, these limitations result in a backup service offer that’s too expensive for some segments of your customers. You end up either charging what the market will bear (and losing money on backup) or charging enough to make a profit (and losing data protection customers because the service is too expensive). Neither option is good.
A fundamentally different architecture
What if, instead, you had the option to work with a fundamentally different architecture that allows you to perform full system backups more than once per day? What if incremental backups took only a few minutes, and didn’t require hours of troubleshooting? That’s what SolarWinds® Backup was built to do. When customers experience hardware failure, ransomware, or physical disasters, you’ll be ready to recover in a way that minimizes data loss and shrinks lost productivity to a fraction of what it would be otherwise. You can back up every hour, or even every 15 minutes, and deliver a higher level of service at recovery time.
In addition, SolarWinds Backup comes with backup storage to our global private cloud included in your price. We handle the hardware for you, in your choice of 30 data centers built for security and continuity. Your backups are encrypted, in transit and at rest, and stored in a secondary location that helps you meet the classic 3-2-1 data protection model. If you want an optional local copy, you can have it, using an existing network share, USB, or other hardware you may have on hand.
Because SolarWinds Backup was built for MSPs, the unified, at-a-glance dashboard can dramatically reduce the amount of routine administrative time your team spends managing backups.
The more value you can deliver to your customers, and the more efficiently you can do so, the more successful and profitable your data protection service will be. Our next post will discuss how we do this on the technical side. To learn more about our unique architecture and how it allows you to enjoy these business benefits, request a demo today.
Carrie Reber is senior product marketing manager for SolarWinds MSP.