MSP Overcomes Cloud Bandwidth Constraints With WAN Optimization
Pop Quiz: What do you do when your client’s cloud backup window exceeds non-production-hours limits and spills into production? (And before you answer, adding more Internet bandwidth is not an option.)
A. Convince your client that two hours without Internet access each morning is acceptable.
B. Spend hours reviewing data sets and only backup the really valuable data to the cloud.
C. Find a cloud backup provider that uses less bandwidth.
Clearly the answer is C, but you can appreciate the predicament that Dallas-based MSP Internetwerx, Inc., which serves as the IT department for companies of all sizes and verticals, has been in on multiple occasions over the years.
Bandwidth Limitations Lead To Cloud Backup Objections
Despite the differences in its customers’ business and IT needs, there are two traits the majority of customers have in common — limited bandwidth and the need for reliable business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR).
The first trait often leads to sales objections when selling cloud backup solutions, says Michael Ortega, senior solution architect and engineer at Internetwerx, Inc. “We have worked with lots of different cloud backup vendors over the years, and bandwidth issues almost always become a point of contention. In addition to asking clients to pay hundreds of dollars a month for the backup service, we have to convince them to pay $400-plus more per month to upgrade their bandwidth.”
Prior to partnering with Intronis, Internetwerx, Inc. did the best it could to work within customers’ budget and bandwidth constraints, but it regularly faced difficulties. “Oftentimes backups would run all night and could even cut into production hours, which would bring the client’s Internet availability to a standstill,” says Ortega. “In some cases, we might have to completely reseed the customer’s data and ship a hard drive to the cloud provider, which becomes a drain on our labor resources and profit margins.”
Intronis Accelerates Backups, Lowers Management Costs
In the past, Ortega says his company used three or four separate backup products to provide a comprehensive solution to clients, but Intronis eliminates this necessity, too. “Intronis allows us to see and manage each customer’s backups from one screen via a web portal,” he says.
Additionally, since signing on as an Intronis partner, the bandwidth discussions have nearly vanished. “Intronis doesn’t just copy data to the cloud. It first applies WAN optimization, which includes data deduplication and compression,” says Ortega. “Intronis supports block-level backups, too, which lowers bandwidth requirements even further. If someone changes the punctuation at the end of a sentence from a question to a period, Intronis doesn’t save a new copy of the entire document, it just saves the updated punctuation mark. These features enable backups to take place quickly and consume only a fraction of the bandwidth of other solutions.”
Another benefit is the MSP-optimized backup appliance, Barracuda Backup – Intronis MSP Edition, which is much more than an external drive or NAS (network attached storage) device. “The backup appliance is an all-in-one, subscription-based solution that provides automated BCDR services and minimizes our labor management costs,” says Ortega. “It costs a fraction of what a redundant production server costs, too. Plus, it does not add any extra burden to the production environment. Any software updates are pushed out automatically.”
A Manufacturer’s 1 TB Cloud Backup Challenge Solved With Intronis
Recently, Internetwerx, Inc. upgraded a single-site manufacturing customer to Intronis and saved the customer — and itself — a myriad of headaches. “They have about 1 TB of data that needs to be backed up locally and to the cloud,” says Ortega. “The client has only a 5 MBPS Internet connection, and the only upgrade option in their area would be a fiber optics connection, which would increase their Internet costs by $800 a month.”
All previous attempts to back up the manufacturer’s data to the cloud failed, he says. “Last year we sold the client Intronis, including the MSP backup appliance option. We were able to get all their data seeded over the Internet within five days, and subsequent incremental cloud backups run each night within a two-hour window. The client now has comprehensive BCDR protection for less than half the cost of an Internet upgrade.”
Ortega says this is the new norm for Internetwerx, Inc., and it’s creating a domino effect within the MSP’s customer base. “Within the past year and a half, we switched more than 60 percent of our clients to Intronis,” he says. “To put it into perspective, we’ve converted more clients to off-site backups in that period than the previous four years combined.”