Hidden BDR Dangers: Transitioning to Virtual Environments
Disaster recovery (BDR) and intelligent business continuity (IBC) solutions vendor Datto recently reviewed the process of transitioning customers to virtual environments on its blog. Datto Product Manager Ian McChord (pictured) revealed four hidden dangers that managed services providers (MSPs) should take into consideration before moving customers from a physical environment to a virtual one. We'll reveal his analysis.
"When an MSP decides to switch over a client’s infrastructure, they need to consider the changes in not only how the system works, but the pricing models behind protecting it," McChord said in his blog post.
According to McChord, the following are hidden dangers for MSPs transitioning customers to virtual environments:
- Agent fees — Agent fees become an issue for customers backing data in a virtual environment, McChord said. Unlike in physical environments, a virtual machine can be created with a click of a button, expanding the number of agents protected. As a result, a per agent fee could be detrimental to a customer. An MSP should go with a vendor that has a flexible pricing model. "When Datto Partners change from physical to virtual, we see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in agents protected on their devices," he said. If we were charging them per agent, that would mean our partners would have to go to their end-user to cover the cost difference."
- Simultaneous virtualization — In a virtual environment, MSPs share resources on a single host for multiple machines, McChord said. The host itself is made up of hardware, which could fail, leaving many of your customers out of luck. To avoid this issue, McChord recommends a backup solution that has enough CPU and RAM be able to "spin up all of the down systems and run them concurrently."
- Beware of proprietary format — Changing the format of data could result in unwanted consequences. "With virtual environments, it is silly to convert something that is virtual into a proprietary format, to then convert back into a virtual format," he said. "The more moving parts in a restore or virtualization, the higher chance you have of something going wrong."
- Limitless data, limited bandwidth — After customers make the switch to a virtual environment, the amount of data within the customer's network usually increases, making it rather difficult to off-site all image backups in reasonable times. McChord said MSPs need to find another way to make the protection process works. "One way is to have a larger time interval between backups off-site then you do locally," he said. "As your off-site backup is the final point of restore in a complete disaster scenario, it is not as significant to have a few hour gap between backups."
Are you aware of any hidden dangers that McChord may have missed? Let us know.