Online Backup: Six Questions MSPs Need to Ask

Online Backup: Six Questions MSPs Need to Ask

online backup intronis n-ableWhether you call it online backup or managed storage, the market for SaaS-oriented storage solutions is intensifying. The latest news involves N-able Technologies partnering with Intronis. But each time I check my inbox there seems to be a new pitch about MSPs and managed storage. Here are six questions MSPs should ask before making an online backup decision.

First, the immediate news: Intronis develops an online backup and recovery platform that MSPs can white label and rebrand as their own. The company's software now integrates with N-able's N-central 7.0 remote management platform. Intronis inked a similar relationship with Level Platforms in August 2009 and ConnectWise in December 2009. Intronis also has a close working relationship with Virtual Administrator, which helps transform VARs into MSPs.

The Bigger Story

Several dozen MSPmentor 100 survey participants say they have embraced Intronis (our third-annual survey results will debut February 10, 2010). But there's no doubt market competition is intensifying. A few examples:
  • Asigra has lined up more than 500 partners and continues to push hybrid and cloud computing-based backup and recovery.
  • Carbonite just raised $20 million in venture funding, potentially setting the stage for more managed storage competition in the SOHO market.
  • FalconStor is quietly working with MSPs, including an MSP that bet its entire managed storage business on the legal vertical. I'm still digging for details.
  • Kaseya is set to unveil a Kaseya 2 framework around January 25, 2010. It will include on-premise and SaaS offerings, including online backup, according to this interview with Executive VP Jim Alves.
  • Seagate's i365 business unit (formerly eVault) has introduced APIs that allow companies to back up their on-premise data to the i365 cloud.
  • Storage Guardian is pitching “bare metal restore” capabilities to MSPs; the approach apparently allows MSPs to restore a customer's operating system, applications, settings and data for an entire machine onto a new machine with different hardware than the original system.
  • Vembu was among the first storage specialists to plug into Amazon.com's Simple Storage Service (S3).
  • Westview Capital Partners has invested an unspecified amount of many in VaultLogix, which is seeking to accelerate growth -- though company executives say VaultLogix has been profitable since 2005, according to MassHighTech.com.
  • Zenith Infotech earlier this week launched a special CPR program for its backup and disaster recovery (BDR) MSPs. Stay tuned for more details.
I concede: It's difficult to keep up with all of the online backup industry moves. I haven't even mentioned recent SaaS moves by Symantec and other big storage companies. If I overlooked any please send me an email (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc.com) or post a comment.

Key MSP Considerations

Nearly 64 percent of MSPs already offer customers some form of managed storage, according to our latest MSPmentor 100 survey (complete results coming February 10, 2010). But for those MSPs who are still sizing up their options here are six key questions you need to ask...

1. Is the backup provider solidly profitable, well-funded and positioned to be in business for years to come?

2. Where does the customer data actually live? Does the location comply with SAS 70 Type II and other key standards?

3. Can the MSP rebrand the system as their own, and set prices on their own?

4. Does the backup and restore system integrate with key PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) tools? What is the company's open API (application programming interface) strategy?

5. What type of redundancy does the backup provider offer, and how quickly can customer data be restored in the event of a failure?

6. How often can the MSP test customer restores? Also, how often does the online backup provider test restores? And what are the best practices for such tests?

Next Moves

I can't cover every angle or perspective in a single blog post. Let me know if I've left some holes. If so, feel free to fill them in via email (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc.com) or the comment area.
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