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Archive for the ‘Disaster Recovery’ Category

August 15, 2014

BMR: Broken Servers, Broken Promises, Broken Hearts

Laura is Zetta.net's Content Marketing Manager. She writes, edits, designs and drinks too much coffee.

BMRTeaserPic

Nobody was expecting a truck-shaped hole in your office when you came in to work this morning. But there it is, minus the truck that failed to negotiate a turn (but succeeded at using your primary server as a speed bump).

Fortunately you’re on point with your backups, and as Facilities gets the hole covered, you get ready to bring the server back to life. You’ve got your server images all set to go, and a spare server to put them on. It’s not quite the same as the server that’s now chunks embedded in the floor, but you’ve got a bare metal solution so it shouldn’t be a problem. You boot it up….except it doesn’t boot.

Congratulations, you’ve just hit the “*” on “Bare Metal Restore to any server*.”

Bare metal restores are a great idea. Save a server image backup, then restore it to any hardware after a disaster, even hardware dissimilar to what you had before. If it actually worked as promised, it’d be brilliant. Unfortunately, that’s not the usual experience.

The problem with trying to restore to dissimilar hardware is that it’s, well, dissimilar. If you’re trying to graft a server image onto a different machine, there are going to be different drivers, etc that can shut it down faster than a high school party next to a police station.

Traditional bare metal solutions have used their own third-party OS to try to bridge the gap – the idea being that you can load the image, the BMR solution will detect what needs to be fixed in order to get the image going, and then do it. But this is easier said than done, and despite vendors’ best efforts trying to prevent every possible issue is kind of like patching a dam built from Swiss cheese. There’s more hole than cheese.

So is there a way to do BMR that doesn’t end in heartbreak and recriminations? Or is the entire concept a lost cause?

Check back Monday at zetta.net for a BMR breakthrough.

August 14, 2014

Backup Appliance: The Recovery Albatross

Laura is Zetta.net's Content Marketing Manager. She writes, edits, designs and drinks too much coffee.

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Here’s the situation : you’re working through tickets at your desk, and the fire alarm goes off. You hustle outside with the rest of the office, and discover to your surprise that it’s not a drill – there’s a fire truck outside. You soon learn that a water pipe burst in the server room, flooding it with electrified water. The servers are fried, the fire chief officially declares the building unsafe, and everyone has no choice but to go home with no access to business data.

Over the rest of the day, the water is safely removed, and eventually the fire crew gives the all clear for restoring power. The servers are a lost cause, but that’s what you have backups for. So what now?

Ideally, you’d start restoring your server images as soon as your facility as power/Internet, and get your critical servers up in time for business to resume the next day. Unfortunately, your backup appliance is now a smoking heap of scrap metal, and you can’t get your server images back out of the cloud without it. You have to contact your vendor and wait until they can load your images onto a replacement server and ship it to you. They do, you configure the new appliance and the images restore without a hitch – but you’ve now lost 2-3 days of business operation, rather than just one.

Appliances have their upsides, but when it comes to fast recovery in a real disaster they’re frequently an albatross around the organization’s neck. What if there was a way to get full server images to and from the cloud, without an appliance, quickly enough to restore business within hours instead of days? The next time a water main broke under your server (knock on wood), it’d be a game changer. But doesn’t enterprise-level performance for server images require an appliance?

Well, stay tuned. We’ll have a bit more to say on that Monday 8/18.

June 23, 2014

What the Code Spaces Disaster Means (and Doesn't Mean) for Your Cloud Backups

Laura is Zetta.net's Content Marketing Manager. She writes, edits, designs and drinks too much coffee.

DataDestructionBy now you’ve probably read about the sad fate of Codespaces.com. To recap, someone hacked Code Spaces’s Amazon Web Services account and demanded a ransom; when Code Spaces did not cooperate, the attacker deleted the majority of their (and their customers’) data, their backups, their offsite backups and their machine configurations, forcing Code Spaces to permanently close down. This is the ultimate nightmare of malicious intrusions, and our thoughts are with Code Spaces employees and customers.

This incident has also raised a lot of questions about cloud security, and we’ve seen some inquiries from people understandably concerned about the safety of their backups in the cloud. But “cloud” isn’t a monolithic term – there’s plenty of variety in how a cloud service might be built and managed. So, we’d like to take this opportunity to explain how our setup differs from what Code Spaces had, and how we protect our customers from similar attacks.

The Ownership Question

A major difference between Zetta.net and how Code Spaces was set up is in ownership of infrastructure. Code Spaces built their service on Amazon’s cloud. This might have offered initial capital savings, but it also ceded pretty much all control over how their system was set up.

We own our cloud, its logical infrastructure and the computers that run it, so we control all facets of how it operates. The safety of our customers’ data is very important to us and we pride ourselves on our high security standards. We use SSL encryption in flight and AES encryption at rest, with a unique encryption key for each customer. Our service is audited according to the SSAE 16 standard, and we’re compliant with strict regulations like HIPAA and ITAR.

But external security might not have mattered for Code Spaces – as of right now, it’s believed the attack against them was probably carried out with compromised credentials. What‘s stopping someone from stealing a Zetta.net user’s credentials and mounting a similar attack?

Partners, Not Landlords

Using Amazon Web Services is a bit like renting a physical office space – you get the keys from the landlord (in this case Amazon), and the rest is up to you. This is perfect for some use cases, but backups aren’t really one of them. In this case, the way Code Spaces set up their system allowed the intruder to essentially waltz in and burn the whole thing down from their AWS control panel.

As a professional backup service, Zetta.net is more of a partner than a landlord. It’s our business to ensure that your backups are secure and ready for recovery if you should ever need them. For that reason, we have checks in place that prevent the wholesale deletion of data in our care.

Crucially, we don’t have a single point of failure. Part of our service is to take regular snapshots of a customer’s data for disaster recovery purposes. Unlike primary data, snapshots can’t be deleted by the end user – only by Zetta.net support personnel. This helps us protect our customers from malicious impersonators or rogue employees – even if an attacker were to illegally access a customer’s account and delete their primary data, those snapshots would still exist safely in our servers, out of reach. Additionally, our use of data replication technology means that even if a snapshot were deleted, it would still be recoverable from the replication.

Introducing 2-Factor Authentication

Our system protects our customers from losing their data if an unauthorized user accesses their account – but it’s even better if the unauthorized access just doesn’t occur. To that end, we’re proud to announce that Zetta.net will begin offering 2-factor authentication for all our customers this summer. This feature has been in the works for some time, but we’ve moved up the release announcement in light of the Code Spaces disaster.

If you aren’t familiar with it, 2-factor authentication helps protect your account by requiring two pieces of information in order to log in. The first is your password, which you would enter as you normally do. The second is a random number code sent to your phone, either by text or via an app. Even if a hacker steals your password in a phishing attack, they wouldn’t have the code from your phone and thus couldn’t log into your account. 2-factor authentication can greatly reduce the risk of account hijackings, and we urge all customers to use this feature as soon as it’s released.

There’s a lot to learn from the shocking attack on Code Spaces, but the biggest lesson might be that just because a service is “cloud” doesn’t mean it’s bulletproof. It’s important to remember that all clouds are NOT created equal. Like physical systems, clouds can be configured in ways that makes them more or less vulnerable to attack, and it’s important to do your diligence when selecting a cloud service. Hackers are going to keep getting more sophisticated in their attacks. The good guys have to keep up.

Courtenay Troxel

February 19, 2014

Cloud DR: A Sure Path to Higher Recurring Revenue

Courtenay is a Channel Marketing Strategist at Zetta.net.

more_customersWith business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) a hot button for organizations today, 2014 could be a banner year for manged service providers (MSPs) that align with the right cloud backup and DR provider.

Gartner predicts that at least 30 percent of organizations will change backup vendors this year due to frustration around cost, complexity, and capability. In addition, while more than 90% of the top MSPs offer managed backup services as part of their lineup, most of the offerings are well suited to on-premise data management, not the off-site protection critical for business continuity and disaster recovery, according to MSPMentor.

Both data points lead to the same conclusion—that there’s ample opportunity for a managed service provider to widen their customer base and better serve existing clients by tapping into a high-performance DR solution that’s cost effective and easy to implement.

Despite high customer demand, many MSPs have yet to add DR to their services menu because of the perceived notion that profit margins are thin and there are concerns about having to make a significant investment that could offset a healthy revenue stream.

Yet with the right cloud DR solution, that need not be the case. MSPs can potentially boost monthly recurring revenue (MRR) while expanding their customer base simply by addressing the gap in their services portfolio with a high-performance DR solution that’s optimized for the cloud without the cost of a hardware appliance. With no back-end investment in costly hardware, MSPs can get to market quickly with premium-priced services that will expand their revenue base and keep customers satisfied in one fell swoop.

Unlocking Higher MRR

Zetta.net’s cloud DR solution is poised unlock2to help MSPs unlock a higher MRR stream with no investment in costly appliances. For example, Zetta.net partners combined enjoyed 1900% customer data growth in 2013.

WAN-optimized to deliver enterprise-grade data transfer speeds, Zetta.net allows MSPs to offer clients a backup and DR solution that can recover up to 5TB in 24 hours.

With plug-ins for SQL, Exchange, System State, NetApp, VMware, and Hyper-V, Zetta.net can be deployed as a DR resource to meet the range of customer needs. The platform is also compliant with the backup and DR requirements specified by numerous regulations, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) governing the health care sector to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) in the financial market, as well as ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), among others.

With Zetta.net’s verified backup and 24/7 customer support, MSPs can deliver a DR solution that will earn customers’ trust while opening up higher revenue stream without significant upfront investment. In any book, that’s called a win-win. Find out how partnering with Zetta.net helps grow your managed service provider business.

Courtenay Troxel

December 31, 2013

To Be Or Not To Be With Cloud Backup in 2014

Courtenay is a Channel Marketing Strategist at Zetta.net.

tobeornot

2013 was a big year for cloud backup, although there were definitely some bumps in the road along the way.

The cloud increasingly garnered traction with small- and mid-sized businesses hungry for ways to quick-start mission-critical services without incurring huge investments in IT and hardware infrastructure and without paying for capabilities they would never use.

Cloud backup solutions, in particular, were especially in favor as Managed Service Providers (MSPs) rushed to add them to their solution suites, affording customers a solution that meets their technical and budgetary requirements while also providing MSPs with a path to additional revenue streams.

Yet all wasn’t completely rosy on cloud-backup front. MSPs had to contend with a service offering that did not keep pace with explosive data growth and support the optimal performance needed as we headed into 2014.

With that in mind, here are the top seven cloud backup non-predications that we firmly believe must not carry over into next year in order for MSPs to accelerate their course to higher margins, reduced customer churn, and increasing profitability.

7. Backup appliappliance_hoarder_V2ance hoarding is on the rise: This disorder affects those who feel the need to buy appliances when it’s not necessary, even in the cloud.

6. Enterprises don’t really care about meeting their backup windows—consumer-grade cloud backup is good enough.

5. HIPAA is no big deal because disregarding it only means penalties and fines.

4. Businesses are just saying NO to speed and performance because it’s okay to wait weeks to restore data.

3. Complexity rules! Having to log into multiple servers across all clients’ various locations keeps you close to their heart.

2. Time doesn’t equal money—It’s a boatload of fun taking hours to install backup agents, create the jobs, and do multiple reboots just to get backups started.

1. Symantec BackupExec.cloud resurrects as Norton.cloud to test your patience, yet again!

Cloud Backup Must Evolve

In all seriousness, here are five trends that will showcase why cloud backup offerings will need to mature in 2014:

5. Cloud backup support for transferring larger data sets needs to be faster as customer demands for data availability increase.

4. Enterprise-grade cloud backups will ditch appliances to reduce complexity and eliminate initial costs for MSPs.

3. The race racefor customer loyalty goes from 0-60  mph in 3 seconds as MSPs focus efforts on reducing churn with the right cloud offering–backup leads the charge.

2. Backup reliability will increase with the wide adoption of cloud backup services.

1. 2014 will be the year of Disaster Recovery as a service as the need to instantly restore data becomes mainstream.

So get ready. 2014 promises to be the year cloud backup grows up. To learn how Zetta.net is helping to change the rules around cloud backup, check us out at www.zetta.net/partners.

 



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