Managed services providers (MSPs) that handle backup and restore for their clients are finding solutions that drive increased efficiency yield higher profits for their businesses. The efficiency arises in terms of resource and bandwidth use, as well as in time spent on administrative tasks. Third-party review site IT Central Station interviewed several MSP users of SolarWinds® Backup who described how efficiency translates into cost savings, productivity, and profits.
Efficient resource and bandwidth usage
Backup and restore processes, along with the many configuration and testing activities that surround them, can be resource- and bandwidth-intensive. The more efficiently a backup solution can handle resource and bandwidth usage, the more efficient the MSP’s backup operation will be. As Chris Soutar, vice president of managed services at Entré Computer Solutions, put it, “The efficiency of the resource and bandwidth use when it comes to both backup and recovery has been excellent at this point. The cloud storage feature has made us much more efficient, as well as profitable, because of the ways the software changes and deduplicates the amount of storage used at any point in time.”
Mark Pattison, director at Back Office IT, Ltd., finds the efficiency of the solution’s resource and bandwidth use to be “extremely good.” He described how this efficiency affects his work routine, sharing, “Most of the time, I’ll arrive in the morning, grab my morning coffee, fire up the console, and it’s all green ticks, then the job is done, and we send the customer their invoice. It’s difficult to think of any way that the efficiency could be improved because it all just sort of works in a sensible time.”
Less time on administrative tasks
Backup automation and other ease-of-use features work to lower the amount of time MSPs spend on client backup tasks. “The most valuable feature is the automation,” said Jim Timberman, managing director at Moser Consulting. He added, “The monitoring makes it very easy to check whether a backup has gone bad.” Joe Carney, service manager at Computer Guild, concurred, noting, “It does most of the work for you. I don’t feel like I’m thinking too hard when I do this. I understand how the system works on the back end, and what it needs to do, but I don’t want to concentrate on that when I’ve got so many other things going on. This really does just so much of the legwork for me.”
For Carney, the solution’s single dashboard is useful for keeping the work process efficient. It shows all the different sources it’s backing up, such as databases, files, folders, and system state. He revealed, “It gives you your entire client list. It gives you a daily update of green, yellow, or red. I get a daily email that I’m able to integrate into my ticket system. The tickets come in only if anything fails. If something fails, my technicians get details of exactly what failed with an error code.”
Dirk Wittkowski, president at Tech Help Group, Inc., similarly found the most valuable feature of the solution comes from the fact that it is “hands off.” He said, “I spend about five minutes in the portal, and even that is an exaggeration, just to make sure everything is good in the morning. I’ll just go into the dashboard and see that single pane of glass and know that everything’s working. It’s a tremendous time-saver.”
MSPs can operate more profitably when they combine productive use of people with efficient resource and bandwidth usage in backup workloads. Carney explained how this works, using “incredible deduping” from SolarWinds Backup as an example. He said, “If duplicate files on the system get uploaded, they make one source file that gets uploaded and it links back to the multiple spots it was copied from. This saves time and also saves money.”
For Wittkowski, the profitable feature was automated Recovery Testing. As he observed, “It’s five dollars a month to do recovery testing and it’s certainly worthwhile. We even bill out for that, and having that feature built-in is making us money. It’s automated.” He further commented, “SolarWinds is a major cost- and time-saver. The time-savings were even more important and, of course, also equate to money.”
The backup software vendor’s pricing factors into MSP profitability as well. Carney said, “Depending on what they have, we can give them [the client] an easy projection of what their investment in a system like that would be. There won’t be any surprises such as, ‘Oh, we went over one terabyte, we now have to get to the five terabyte cap,’ which is something I had to deal with when I used Carbonite.” In contrast, as he remarked, “If I go a gigabyte over the standard cap for a server or workstation, I pay a set amount of money that doesn’t scale up or down. I know exactly what I can do with this solution for any client. I know exactly how much I can charge them, and it’s done monthly.”
To learn more about SolarWinds Backup, visit the page on IT Central Station.