When it comes to Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR), it's important to know how it functions and which service best fits your clients' needs. Is Continuous Data Protection more cost effective than legacy backup products? How does CDP actually work? What is CDP? Well, who better to answer these questions than backup maven, Randy Bowie, VP of Backup Product and Engineering at R1Soft! Tune in to learn more!


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Episode Transcription:

Shannon: Hello, and welcome to another episode of MSPtv. I'm Shannon Mayer, the senior marketing programs manager here at Continuum. I'm very excited today to have Randy Bowie on the program. He's visiting us from Houston. He's our VP of backup products. How are you doing today?

Randy: Doing great.

Shannon: Excellent. Thanks for joining us.

Randy: Yeah, thanks for having me here.

Shannon: Yeah. Some of our partners may not be that familiar with R1Soft. Can we start with telling us a little bit about R1Soft and how it came to be.

Randy: R1Soft was born in the Cloud. It was born at what is today known as SoftLayer. Then, it was EV1 Servers. It was born as a backup solution for hosting service providers. They have very particular needs, the continuous data protection, the speed, and the hands off so you don't have to manage, you don't have to have a lot of people to set up the solution. It's very easy to set up. All those things were very important to that customer base.

Shannon: Yeah. I have here with me today the R1Soft penguin. Can you tell me about why the penguin.

Randy: That's Tux. Of course in the hosting service provider world, Linux is king. Everything is ultimately sitting on top of a Linux box for the most part on the Internet.

Shannon: Oh, so this is the Linux penguin.

Randy: That's the Linux penguin.

Shannon: Oh, okay, got you. Thanks for clearing that up. I have these all over my desk. 

Randy: You can throw them at people. They're pretty good for that.

Shannon: Yeah? Well, I know the phrase continuous data protection is trademarked by R1Soft.

Randy: Right.

Shannon: What exactly does that mean?

Randy: It means that we're continuously tracking changes on your important servers, on your protected servers. We're watching at the block level, actually below the file system, so we see all changes. We track all changes. When you backup, what that means is that we only have to send the change blocks back to the backup to the data store. Our data store is very efficient. The network utilization is very low and the utilization on the protected server is very low. We're not doing things like file signatures like a file based solution would do. It's a very low cost, low overhead solution. It's very fast as well.

Shannon: All right. Those all sound like traits that would be really important to the SMB market.

Randy: Right.

Shannon: Have you seen that there's sort of a natural transition here from going from hosting and now with Continuum BDR moving into the MSP space?

Randy: Absolutely. Of course, we're learning this new space. There are some differences in terms of scale for the most part. The customers have the same concerns around cost. Not so much around price, but cost is very important. You're running a business that is very cost sensitive. You need a solution that doesn't require you to hire new people to maintain. That's your biggest cost. The hosting service providers are the same way. They try to run with as few people as possible. They want to provide great service. They need a solution they can rely on. There's a lot of good overlap there. The things that we care about on both sides are the same.

In the hosting service provider world, they're hosting private Clouds. They're hosting exchange servers and SQL servers and things that you see in small businesses, oftentimes for small businesses or for MSPs. A lot of the workloads are the same. The difference is scale. In the hosting side, our typical customer, the amount of protected servers they're backing up measures in petabytes. That's very different.

Shannon: That's a lot of data.

Randy: Yeah, very different than what we see in the small business.

Shannon: Okay. You mentioned SoftLayer. What do you think are some of the benefits between using SoftLayer over maybe a private Cloud solution?

Randy: Yeah, we are using SoftLayer for our backup in the Cloud and our disaster recovery in the Cloud. You know, it's the IBM's Cloud. It provides a bare metal cloud. We get dedicated servers, dedicated performance, better storage I/O than Clouds that are based on object store or that have multi tenant servers. We're not running on multi tenant servers. We're hosting multi tenant servers.

Shannon: Yeah.

Randy: That gives us a lot of advantage. The other advantage to going with a SoftLayer is the scale. They have operations all over the world. We can expand the solution very quickly. We can have data centers all over the US and all over the world very quickly within days or weeks, as opposed to other solutions where we can't even guarantee where the data lives in reality.

Shannon: It's definitely a benefit.

Randy: Yeah.

Shannon: For sure. Do you have a favorite customer success story or an instance where you really saved the day that stands out in your mind?

Randy: For R1Soft, that's a daily thing. I'd say that I do get to see over the customer's shoulders from time to time. It's impressive to see how many restores are happening for those customers. Looking at their dashboards, we see hundreds of restores or thousands of restores often looking at their SBM UI. It's hard to come up with just one.

Shannon: Just one.

Randy: I've definitely seen volumes that are amazing. I mean we're protecting lots of virtual private servers in the Cloud. Lots of the small business websites are being protected by our solution already. Those guys are deleting files accidentally and getting restores very quickly from the solution today. I expect to see the same thing with Continuum customers.

Shannon: That's great. Yes, I'm looking forward to that, too. To wrap up here, I'm interested to get your perspective on sort of the future of backup and how we're aligning ourselves with where the market's going.

Randy: It's a really exciting space. If you think about where we've come from, the legacy backup products which were all file based or tape based even going way back, those solutions were really difficult to implement. Even some of the big names in enterprise space today require professional services from that company to implement. You see the emerging brands in this space, that's not acceptable. The solution has to be as simple as any Office application that you would set up, maybe simpler than setting up Office even. That's pretty exciting.

We're getting to the point where the computer's actually working for you. The software's actually working for you. With previous backup solutions, you staffed up to implement those. You staffed up to maintain them. The next generation of solutions are going to be even more autonomous. That's where everything's going.

Shannon: Do you see everything moving to be Cloud based eventually, or do you think hybrid Cloud really still is going to be around for quite a while?

Randy: There are applications for hybrid Cloud for a while, still even local appliances, just for security concerns always will be the number one thing. Yeah, more and more people are becoming comfortable with the Cloud. We're seeing a lot of things move into the Cloud that we never would've thought about 10 years ago. It's become easier.

Shannon: Yeah.

Randy: Again, it's more about the fact that it's easy to set things up in the Cloud than anything. The cost is also coming down. It's been steadily coming down. We'll see more things. The small applications that small businesses are using would fit well in the Cloud and would give a much better user experience for those small businesses. They don't need to know how to manage servers. They still need that trusted advisor, though. They'll still need somebody to make sure everything is set up or even to select the right software for them. Yeah, the Cloud's going to become a bigger part of our business going forward.

Shannon: Yeah, completely agree.

Randy: Yeah.

Shannon: Well, thank you very much for joining us today, Randy. I hope the partners and prospects out there enjoyed your talk. Hopefully, we'll have you back again.


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