Arkeia Software

Managed Backup Appliances

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In this use-case, customer data is created at the customer site however backups are managed by the hosting provider.   The customer has a requirement to backup data outside of the hosting datacenter. The hosting provider delivers an appliance-based local backup and recovery at the customer site with centralized backup at the managed hosting provider facility. The backup services offered by the managed hoster are typically paid monthly and create a long-term recurring revenue stream and strong customer lock-in for the managed hosting company.  This model is a natural business for hosting companies who provide connectivity solutions today.

Solution Success Factors

  • Local – local backup and restore the solution must be able to quickly backup local data, including the backup of files and the hot backup of applications and databases. More importantly, the solution must keep some data locally for fast restores.
  • Integrated – the solution should not need to be a custom integrated software and hardware solution that inflicts the costs and risks inherently associated with custom development (see Why an Appliance?).
  • Remote, centralized management – the solution must allow the hosting company to both manage the backup and restore process remotely (from the hosting facility), but also centrally across many locations.
  • Replication – the solution must enable replication of backup jobs off-site to the hosting datacenter facility.  This is a critical link to the core managed hosting service offering.

Managed Hosting Backup Appliances Use Case

The managed hosting company provides an integrated hardware appliance to remote customer sites and the customer pays a small startup cost, typically a few hundred dollars.  The customer is then charged monthly for backup and recovery service.  Backups are done to the local appliance and then replicated to the managed hosting facility.  The customer or hoster manages backup schedules while the hoster manages schedule of replication to NOC. All backups are compressed and encrypted.  Using local hardware appliances allows short backup times that leverage fast disk that is on-site. Disk is still the fastest path (versus tape or over the wire)

Restores are directed by the managed hosting company and are restored from the local staging server (backup appliance) or from the hosting datacenter over the WAN.  Recent files comprise the bulk of files that require restoration, so customers enjoy fast, local from disk restore times for most of their restore requests.  Older files that are infrequently restored are kept at the hosting facility and could be archived to tape for long term retention.

Disaster recovery can be done over the WAN or with physical media shipped to customer location.  A key success strategy is to keep recent data local on disk, migrate to datacenter for off-site retention and archiving, and to charge customers small start-up fees and monthly ongoing backup service fees.