Is your MSP offering Storage plus Server or Disaster Recovery as a Service?

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WD Sentinel

Is your MSP offering Storage plus Server or Disaster Recovery as a Service?

Storage Vendor giant WD, who many of us will be more familiar with as the business formerly known as Western Digital, are making some interesting moves that your IT business should be aware of.

Primarily known as a manufacturer of Hard Drives, in recent times WD have moved into the Business Storage Solutions market and announced a range of Servers aimed at the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market. This now puts them into conversations that SMB IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) would previously only had with HP and Dell.

Storage plus Server

Take the WD Sentinel DS range. With a small form factor you might mistake it for a simple Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. A closer look reveals some pretty powerful hardware under the bonnet and running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials the DS is not only capable of networking file sharing, but also automatic client computer backup for any machine connected to the LAN, and very importantly – the ability to run Line of Business (LoB) applications. So it’s a powerful NAS and it can run LoB Apps – or as WD label the concept, “Storage plus Server”.

That’s interesting because increasingly many SMB clients feel they don’t need a server beyond file storage. They are hosting e-mail in the Cloud, they are using web-based applications and if they could do away with their server and replace it with a NAS they probably would. The trouble is, they often still need to run LoB apps. WD’s “Storage plus Server” concept offers an interesting alternative to the Server plus NAS setup – and I think it’s worth MSP’s being aware of as a potential solution for their SMB clients.

Network Backup

Then there is the fact that WD also offer a range of Network Backup Appliances and Network Backup Software. Oh, you didn’t know WD did Backup Software? Then you’re not alone!

The WD Arkeia network backup software is a fully featured backup tool to rival Symantec Backup Exec or Arcserve. It supports backups of physical and virtualization servers, offers Hybrid-Cloud features (perform backups to disk on LAN’s and then replicate the backups to the Cloud) and has agents for over 200 platforms including as Windows, Mac and Linux.

The WD Network Backup Appliance range promise high reliability but with only minimal maintenance. What does that mean for MSP’s? Well, consider the option of putting a Network Backup Appliance device on a client site for local backups, then replicating the data to another device in your own Data Centre to provide a Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution that can generate recurring revenue for your MSP business. It’s certainly a more sophisticated way of offering DR-as-a-service than doing local backups to a dumb NAS with server based backup software, then transporting that data off-site using other software. The idea of having all the on-site and off-site components under one roof from a single Vendor should reduce the cost of support and mean MSP’s have to do less maintenance too.

Interview with Tom Gallivan, VP of WD

While in Barcelona, Spain attending the VMWorld and Autotask Community Live! Conferences this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with the Vice-President of WD, Tom Gallivan to understand more about what WD are doing in the SMB space. I asked Tom why WD were moving into the SMB market, how IT companies can use WD products to drive service sales and increase recurring revenue, and to understand how WD are supporting their partners in the UK.

Thanks to Tom Gallivan for taking the time out of his VMWorld visit to speak to me, and I hope you learn a lot about how your IT business could benefit from our conversation which you can view below.

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