As we approach the end of 2017, most businesses are tweaking their budgets and their plans to achieve more growth in the coming year. Just like you’re evaluating your business, it’s likely your SMB customers are going through a similar process.
SMB growth can be a great thing for your MSP business. It can provide you with more projects, more chances to upgrade services, and higher IT budget allocations. However, all of these positive changes can cause an unexpected roadblock for your MSP: not enough data storage.
This week’s tech tip comes from Kyle Marsan, one of the solutions engineers at Barracuda MSP. He shared his advice on how to size the Barracuda Backup Appliance correctly so that your SMB customers have room to grow their data—and their business—without an awkward conversation. Here is what Kyle had to share:
“If you size the Barracuda Backup Appliance right (don’t worry, we can help), you can prevent sooner-than-expected upgrades and uncomfortable conversations regarding customer retention. This can help you keep your SMB customers on board without rewriting contracts or moving them to a larger appliance—creating a win-win situation for your MSP.”
5 Factors to consider when sizing a backup appliance
Knowing an SMB customer’s environment is essential to finding the perfect backup appliance size for their business. While Barracuda MSP can help you determine what is best for your customer, here are five areas you should investigate before making a final decision.
- How much data is currently stored on disk? Evaluate how much space you need for data by scanning the customer’s disk and looking at the metadata. This can help you approximate the rate of growth and how much room your customer will need to store their files.
- Do you want to implement a physical or virtual appliance? Virtual appliances allow you to easily scale customers’ storage with little to no touch, whereas a physical appliance requires a more in-depth process. Ask your customer which environment they prefer their data reside in.
- Does your customer backup VMware or Hyper-V? In the case of virtual machine (VMware or Hyper-V) backups, you need space to backup an image of the full VM, enabling file level or image level recovery. If any VMs are running Microsoft SQL or Exchange and database level recovery is required, you’ll also want to put an agent on the guest VM. In this scenario, it’s important to make sure the appliance is large enough to house both the VM and database data.
- Are there any retention requirements needed for compliance purposes? If you’re working with a customer in a highly regulated industry, it’s important to make sure there’s enough space to store all the data needed to meet compliance standards. For example, to meet HIPAA requirements, documents need to be kept for six years after the document was created or the date the document was last in effect.
- How frequently do they want to backup their data? To satisfy short recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, data will need to be backed up on a frequent basis. Depending on the business needs, this could be every hour, every three hours, or every day. Talk to the customer to determine how much data they can live without. The frequency of their backups could determine what size appliance you should go with.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to sizing appliances for your customers. However, if you dive into each customer’s environment more and discuss their unique needs, you’ll have a good starting point. If you get stuck or need any additional help sizing appliances for your SMB customers, please give our sales team a call—we will be more than happy to help!
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