For those MSPs contemplating the build-versus-buy question with regards to offering backup and disaster recovery (DR) as a service, be careful when it comes to the purchase and management of storage. Get it wrong and you could end up with a money pit.
A useful analogy is the home. Suppose a couple is looking at whether to buy a house or build their own dream house. The latter option would require buying a parcel of land, working out the plans, obtaining the necessary city permits and going to Home Depot repeatedly for an endless list of materials. With the basic elements on site, now comes the hard part. Digging the trenches, cutting the steel rebar to erect the framework in which to pour the concrete, then adding the walls, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical and many more details--any one of which could trip up the home owners and add time to the project.
Like the distraught home buyers who end up looking like they are in a remake of Tom Hanks’ “Money Pit” movie, many such projects run way over budget and are delayed by many months, if not years. Only if the homeowner has a broad do-it-yourself (DIY) skillset, or has generous contractor friends, does this method have any possibility of success.
The increasingly preferred approach is to purchase a new-build property and move in, or buy a fixer and pay someone else to mold the building to your vision. This typically saves a lot of time, money and heartbreak, and enables the couple to focus on other priorities instead of sinking steadily into a deep hole of unending financial surprises.
These are the very same reasons why many MSPs decide to shelve projects to erect their own storage infrastructures in support of their plans to add backup and DR services to their repertoire. Those contemplating building their own storage subsystems should look before they leap. They need to become fully aware of the many aspects of supporting and managing storage. Significant time and resources are taken up, for example, in product evaluation/selection/acquisition. Once purchased, there is much to be concerned about when it comes to implementation and integration, including third-party backup and recovery software. And once the storage assets are in place and functioning, they need to be maintained. All this assumes, of course, that the necessary storage management and administration resources exist internally. This means having adequate storage personnel with the skill sets to efficiently manage your customers’ storage.
Don’t end up like Hanks in the "Money Pit." Those MSPs that follow this path often rue the day they opened the door to endless storage complexity, hassle and expenses--just because they wanted to ensure their backup customers never run out of capacity.
But just like in home buying, MSPs are realizing that it is cheaper and faster to partner with a reputable backup provider, and to safeguard your customer’s data in the cloud. For more information, here’s an MSP tech brief on what you need to know about building out a private vs. public cloud.
Art Ledbetter is director of channels at Zetta. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly, and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.