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Meeting Your Customers' Data Protection Needs

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Data protection could emerge as a critical service line for your MSP operation.

Customers of all sizes need to backup their physical systems and virtual servers. They may also want to establish a disaster recovery capability to keep their data safe -- and businesses operating -- through unforeseen events. A comprehensive data protection solution requires both a local and off-site component. So, an MSP would do well to offer replication services as well as backup support.

Businesses, particularly smaller enterprises, often need outside help when it comes to setting up and managing such complex, multi-level data protection environments. For MSPs stepping up to this task, Dell AppAssure offers a backup, replication and recovery solution that provides the foundation for a data protection service.

Dell purchased AppAssure in February 2012 and has since integrated the technology into its Dell Software portfolio. AppAssure is available to MSPs as software or as an appliance. In the latter case, an MSP can order the Dell PowerVault DL 4000 configured with the AppAssure technology.

AppAssure: Features for MSPs

AppAssure covers both virtual and physical data protection in a single solution. On the virtual side, the product provides backup and disaster recovery across such hypervisors such as VMware vSphere, ESX/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Systems XenServer. The product also protects the physical servers, providing backup and recovery for Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server and SharePoint among other platforms.

In April, Dell Software released the latest version of AppAssure, version 5.4.1, which includes a number of replication-related features geared toward MSPs. AppAssure’s replication function takes periodic snapshots of servers or virtual machines. Snapshots may be recorded every hour or as often as every five minutes.  Those snapshots go to the AppAssure Core, the product’s central server component, where they are stored in a repository. The snapshots, after the initial base image, record only the storage blocks containing changed data.

Once the snapshots arrive at the AppAssure Core repository, they can be replicated out to another data center, the cloud or a disaster recovery site. In one new feature, the repository has been redesigned so MSPs will be able to set different retention policies. For example, an MSPs could set up a policy to retain a local copy of data at the customer’s site for a month and archive that data for seven years at the MSP’s location for compliance purposes.

In addition, AppAssure’s latest update lets MSPs schedule replication to run at three specific periods: all the time, daily (during a specific window) and custom (weekdays and weekends during specific windows). As for the latter, an MSP could set up replication to occur at 6:00 p.m. weekdays and once during the weekend.

Advanced replication options are also available with the AppAssure update. Bandwidth throttling, for example, lets MSPs limit the speed of replication to give the production environment the right of way. This feature helps MSPs accommodate customers who lack robust network connections.

Another plus for MSPs: chain replication. AppAssure now supports multi-hop replication, so data can flow from the customer’s site to the MSP’s server and then to a second MSP machine or an on-site disaster recovery facility. Multi-target replication, meanwhile, enables MSPs to replicate from one core server to multiple target core servers.

About Dell Service Provider Program

Over 2000 service providers collaborate with Dell for market-ready technology and sales enablement. We seek to continually bring value to our partners by ensuring they are part of the next big thing.  Together, we want to transform the way customers work by abstracting and automating complex technologies in a simple to consume click-together ITaaS approach.  We want to enable you to become that one-stop-shop IT-as-a-Service provider with the essential ITaaS solutions that customers need for all their cloud and remotely managed IT needs. 

The strategy that we will build together is to enable you with a tactical plan leveraging Dell software and hardware IP and your service delivery know-how in order to land and expand your service delivery capabilities to capture customers’ total IT wallet spend.  To do this, we provide business planning tools and marketing support that help launch new offerings and generate more recurring revenue by speeding up customer onboarding, enhancing solution value and easing expansion into new service delivery areas. 

The Dell Data Protection MSP Program enables MSPs to access other MSP-oriented Dell products. MSPs can initially focus on AppAssure, but have an opportunity to broaden their customer offerings with Dell SonicWALL firewalls and additional software capabilities.

Click here for more information on the Dell MSP Programs.

Dell provides a range of solutions for service providers and their customers.

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