Techworks Consulting, Inc.
MSP Differentiates Sales With a Flat Rate,
Hyper-V Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution
A delayed laptop repair helps an MSP discover the power of virtual machine
restores—and a better way to protect customers’ data.
Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) has always been a top offering for Techworks Consulting since its inception more than 12 years ago. Prior to partnering with Intronis, the IT solution provider (ITSP) sold customers an appliance-based BDR solution, which included image-based local and cloud backups but lacked a few key features. One of these missing features was a direct-to-cloud file backup, so Techworks had to bundle its BDR with other backup products.
“Even though it was technically possible to locate a lost file from an image backed up to the cloud, the process was so cumbersome that it just wasn’t practical,” says Christopher Cable, project manager and system engineer at Techworks Consulting. “Also, because the product is bundled with a high-end appliance, it makes it too cost prohibitive for smaller customers.”
What’s more, even though the BDR solution supported virtual machine (VM) backups and the appliance could function as a primary server, using these features wasn’t practical. “The VM restore process was time consuming, requiring unnecessary extra steps, plus a lengthy switchover process would be necessary once a new server was acquired,” says Cable.
While attending a ConnectWise partner event in 2013, Techworks was introduced to Intronis as a vendor with a file-based cloud backup solution that was complementary to the ITSP’s current BDR offering. Cable says he was in the middle of testing the Intronis solution when he began to realize its full capabilities.
“I had to send my laptop to the manufacturer for repairs covered under warranty, and I was told that it would be a few weeks before I could get it back,” he says. Cable knew waiting that long wasn’t a viable option, so he had a decision to make. He could either purchase another laptop and perform a physical image restore with his appliance-based BDR solution, or he could put his Intronis pilot to a real test.
“Using Intronis, I was able to load the VM image onto a Windows Server 2012 R2 and gain full access to my laptop files, folders, and applications in about 10 minutes,” he says. “With our other backup software, VMs were treated like physical images, requiring an initial boot-up of Hyper-V from a bare metal rescue disk. Then we had to connect to the BDR appliance, and only then could we restore the actual data and server, which was about a two-hour process. Intronis saves the image as a VHD [virtual hard disk], which supports a direct mount to Hyper-V and is key to the short restoration time.”
A File-Based Backup Solution Evolves Into a BDR Replacement
The new features added to Intronis’ BDR offering, combined with those already mentioned, changed it from a complementary add-on to a complete replacement for Techworks’ previous BDR offering.
“The Intronis pricing plan was the clincher: unlimited local and cloud storage for a flat monthly rate,” says Cable. “This allowed us to provide a competitive BDR offering for smaller companies that previously would have balked at having to purchase a $5,000 BDR appliance. With Intronis, we can easily substitute a NAS device that costs less than half of what our other BDR appliance costs. We even can use an external hard drive for small customers.”
While price was a factor, Cable says Intronis’ rich feature set, reliability, and U.S. based support were all key factors in Techworks’ decision to make it the primary BDR offering for its clients. “With any technology, you’re going to run into issues from time to time,” he says. “We had an issue with one customer who was receiving an error code on its image backups. One call to Intronis led to a quick identification of the root cause — incompatibility with the way Windows created Volume Snapshot Service [VSS] images — and a resolution within 24 hours. In the past, when we’ve contacted other BDR vendors with similar issues our request was either disregarded or took multiple follow-ups and months to resolve. Intronis always treats us like we are their best customer, and they make us feel like a top priority.”