Field guide to Offsite DR

A slight confession – I used to be guilty of the following mindset occasionally during my consultancy days. As tech soldiers we typically think we are experts with all we touch, with instant answers from Google when the mythical IT nightmare comes stomping. We are the super soldiers of everything technical, and the knight in shining armour for our customers. With this in mind, may I present the following.

The scenario:

It is 5.25AM and our IT hero’s phone is fizzing around trying to cope with the sheer volume of notifications from a remote management tool. What happened? The early shift at a customer site smoked out the kitchen using the toaster, setting off the sprinkler system, which watered the VM hardware stack and associated switches.

Result – The server is now toast.

At this point in time, what would be the fastest way to get the customer operational again? Pull the shorted disks and try recover the data? And of course, the onsite backup NAS is now filled with more water than disk. Get on Google and scavenge a forum? As quickly as it took a worker to (try) make a tasty breakfast, the customer site has just gone up in smoke. I bet the replacement hardware won’t be sitting under a sprinkler again.

The big question is why an offsite backup wasn’t factored into the initial planning stages of the DR strategy for the customer. Was it cost avoidance, was it just too hard, or merely blissful oversight?

5 popular excuses for blissful oversight:

  1. Local backups are good enough

This is an easy one; they actually aren’t. Hard drives fail, fires happen, earthquakes occur, viruses are rampant, Murphy’s Law loves it when we accidentally delete files, cunning thieves lift things, and people are notorious with spilling fizzy drinks over delicate electrical things.

  1. Offsite DR is a complicated offering

Offsite DR is the act of taking any mission critical customer data and copying it somewhere where it won’t run the risk of going through any of the torture mentioned above. It should be easily accessible in case of failure and ideally we want to make sure the data is intact offsite, just in case.

  1. Offsite DR is expensive

Multiple technologies allow taking data and putting a copy somewhere else. Good initial DR strategy lowers costs later, and testing before implementation is important too. Having a bulk amount of remote storage that you can split between all of your end users will make costing simple and minimal.

  1. The only decent data providers are outside APAC, and customers don’t trust that

The datacentre landscape has undergone decent growth in APAC with the rise of private cloud over recent years. Increasingly MSPs are offering to either invest in cost effective hardware, or rent offsite resources to offer a locale for data redundancy. The offsite DR train is chugging and MSP heroes are investing now before the market becomes oversaturated.

  1. We would never need it

My personal favourite. Time and time again reliable DR is the ace in the hole for IT heroes. Disaster is unpredictable. Can’t think of anyone that was crunched by Cryptolocker? Colleagues who found the monthly billing had “magically” deleted itself? And hardware failure wreaks havoc repeatedly. Cloudward’s interpretation on Backblaze’s hard drive failure rates for Q3 2015 speaks volumes.

OK, excuses aside. How do I package it?

 

There are a few key things you need to know about the customer first. How quickly do they need to recover from failure? How far back in time do they need to recover? How much data do they actually have? As an MSP it is easier to have a standard template for these details, so you can quickly and simply put a package together. Ideally, finding an all-around offsite technology that can easily be deployed to each and all will ease costs and have a familiar DR ecosystem in place for all of your customers.

That isn’t a ballpark figure. How can Soft Solutions help?

 

The Soft Solutions Offsite Service was built from the ground up with offsite DR in mind. It is based out of a tier 1 datacentre in Auckland, and is provided on a reseller only basis for you to white label to your end users. SOS also has dedicated systems in place for both StorageCraft ShadowProtect and Maxfocus Maxbackup technologies. Data is provided in blocks of 500GB, 1TB, and any data usage beyond 1TB is charged on a per GB basis monthly. The service also features a 24/7 phone line to enable emergency data recoveries from the datacentre. As it is a reseller only service, it enables you to split the hosted space as you see fit between your customers. IE. If you had 5 end users with 100GB of data each, you could split a 500GB repository evenly between them, drastically reducing the cost to each customer as well as yourself.

Doing decent DR isn’t hard, neither is it cost prohibitive. With a huge threat landscape constantly hitting end users, offsite is a simple way to ensure that when all else fails there is a means to recover to status quo. Our team at Soft Solutions are well versed in DR technologies and we are just a phone call or email away. Chat to us today to learn how you could go from DR zero to IT hero.

If you are interested in learning more about SOS, please use the contact form below and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

 

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