What Should MSPs Do After Backup?

Managed service providers are invaluable leading organizations to the cloud. But most excel in one area; backup. Some MSPs are adding disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). But there are two other areas where data centers (potential customers) continue to struggle, managing copy data and production storage.

Step 2 – Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

After backup (step 1), adding DRaaS to an MSPs portfolio seems like an obvious addition. Most organizations don’t have a second site, and if they do it is not data center class. If they do have a second site, organizations have to equip that site for disaster recovery. That means having a group of standby servers and storage for mission critical applications as well as coming up with a way to order in the remaining servers. It’s a capital and operation nightmare. And an ideal opportunity for MSPs.

Step 3 – Copy Data Mitigation

A growing concern in many organizations is what to do with all the copies of data that are required to feed processes like data protection, testing, development, reporting and analytics. Industry studies place the capacity requirements of secondary copy data at 10X the actual primary store. And much of this data needs to be protected because it does change.

A whole market, copy data management (CDM), has sprung up to help organizations manage these secondary copies of data. In general they create one copy of data, then present virtual copies of that data to the processes that need it. Most of these solutions are on-premises, which means the organization still needs to make a copy of the data, store that data and provide compute to drive the various process that will access the virtual copies. Again, a major capital and operation expense and once again an ideal opportunity for MSPs.

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Step 4 – Primary Storage

The overwhelming majority of organizations still have on-premises production storage, an obvious outlay of capital expense and operational time. The challenge of course with moving this to the cloud is either that the compute has to move with it or that there is a dramatic latency in connecting to the cloud hosted data. There have been solutions to help, cloud gateways, that cache a small portion of active data on-premises and the rest to a public cloud provider.

The first problem with this traditional approach is the on-premises cache is too small, and misses are a common event. The second problem is the public cloud-based secondary storage area is too “far” away and latency is high. The result is it severely limits the use cases of applications resilient to that latency and of an even smaller group of users patient enough not to complain.

The solution is to put the MSP in the middle. A regional MSP is often close enough that the latency is negligible and fast enough not to break applications or frustrate users.

Pulling it all together

The question is how does an MSP take advantage of these opportunities to solve these customer problems? The last thing the MSP needs is to stand up three different storage solutions and software offerings for each market. They need to look for a single solution that can address each of the problems all at once.

If you’re an MSP and want to learn more about solving these customer problems while creating new business opportunities, register to attend our upcoming webinar, “What’s Next in Storage for Managed Service Providers?“, and learn how to move beyond backup, to DRaaS, Copy Data Management and Production Storage.

Eleven 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 a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 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 of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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