Briefing Note: Intronis Reverses Backups and Simplifies Delivery

One task that many data centers would like to get rid of is data protection. Offering it as a service is not only popular with managed service providers (MSP) and value-added resellers (VAR), it also launches many of them into the next level of solutions they can provide their customers. But offering data protection as a service also means that they have to do a better job managing, maintaining and supporting that solution, at a lower cost than the data center can do itself. Meeting this challenge of providing better service at a lower price is the goal of the latest release of the Intronis solution: ECHOplatform.

Intronis’ ECHOplatform is designed to protect all of a MSP/VAR’s customer data assets, while making it simple for them to maintain a cloud data protection service. This platform is an all-in-one data protection solution that provides server, laptop, VMware, and Hyper-V support, plus applications like MS-SQL and Exchange.

In addition to very complete coverage, the Intronis platform has four attributes that are important considerations for potential VARs that want to elevate their businesses and become cloud backup providers. First, ECHOplatform has an open application programming interface (API) which allows specific customization of the system to meet a provider’s needs. Second, it provides seamless integration with today’s remote monitoring and management tools. Third, ECHOplatform provides a single pane of glass view of all account activity. And finally, it can be completely “white labeled” to feature the MSP/VARs logo and colors.

Fixed-rate Price, Unlimited Cloud and Local Storage

Intronis has moved to a fixed-rate price, selling the service on a per-business or per-subscriber basis, instead of per-TB. This means unlimited local and cloud storage for the MSP/VAR customer’s data and greatly simplified sales and account management cycles. It also includes access to the Intronis portfolio of services, plug-ins and extensions needed to offer the MSP/VAR customer a complete data protection and business recovery solution. In addition, the MSP/VAR does not need to host their own cloud; instead, they leverage the Intronis cloud while providing their customers with the on-site storage needed for local backups and recovery.

New for Winter 2015

New in the winter release for Intronis is the rapid recovery of Hyper-V, which allows Hyper-V VMs to be recovered directly from local image-based storage. Also included is rapid recovery of physical server environments from local storage using a combination of advanced algorithms, native data formats, and reverse incremental backups (described below). The release also includes object-level restore which allows for the recovery of files, folders and databases from within both physical and virtual image backups. Finally the latest release provides support for the most recent release of VMware, version 6.0.

Reverse Incremental Backups

From a technology standpoint Intronis provides very complete platform coverage and have recently introduced reverse incremental backups. Traditional incremental or block level incremental backups are standard fare in the cloud backup business. But they can have a problem since each incremental has to be linked to a “golden master” and, in the event of a recovery, each incremental and the entire full must be recovered. Some solutions have a consolidation function that merges the incremental jobs into the full. But this process takes a while (sometime longer than running another full backup) and once complete, a specific version of a file may no longer be available for restore.

Intronis takes a different approach, creating a continuously updated “golden master” of the latest version of the server/VM/laptop being protected and saving incrementals for versioning. Essentially, each incremental is consolidated directly into the original full as the backup occurs, but is also stored externally so that full file history can be preserved. This solution solves both problems, it makes sure that the image that will be needed most, when time to recovery is important, is the latest version of data. Then, it can keep an almost unlimited amount of incremental backups so that a more robust file history can be maintained.

StorageSwiss Take

The cloud backup market is becoming a very crowded space and many companies are counting on the MSP/VAR to lead them to the promised land. Companies like Asigra, Infrascale, Datto, Axcient and several others all offer complete data protection at an affordable price. This high number of options actually puts more pressure on the VARs as they select a provider. They should be asking questions like:

  1. Should I white label or leverage an existing brand?
  2. Should I build my own cloud or leverage someone else’s?
  3. Can I solve all of my customer’s data protection challenges from a single product or should I plan on using several solutions?

Stay tuned to Storage Switzerland for our next series “How MSP/VARs should Build A Backup Business”.

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Eight years ago George Crump, founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal. To educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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