Beyond BDR Demos: One Platform to Rule Them All
See inside our six-part demo series for an in-depth overview of Axcient’s technical features to understand how MSPs standardize their backup stack to reduce vendor management.
Join Axcient’s Sales Engineering Manager, Cory Hintz, for a quick Axcient demo exploring the benefits of comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). Walkthrough key features like Direct-to-Cloud, Local Cache, Virtual Office, and unlimited storage and retention.
In Axcient’s ‘Simplify and Gain Profitability’ Demo Series, we walk MSPs through Axcient’s capabilities in six 30-minute demos. Each part focuses on a different aspect of Axcient’s x360Recover BCDR solution. Corey covers everything from deploying Chain-Free backup and securing data with our patented Local Cache to limiting downtime with automation, ransomware recovery with Virtual Office, and profiting from cloud adoption. In part six, Cory reviews the highlights of x360Recover to reveal the overall impact it has on an MSPs ability to deliver business continuity.
In this article:
- Compare Axcient to your current solution to see if you could be proving more value for clients while increasing profits through simplicity.
- Get an in-depth overview of Axcient’s technical features to understand how MSPs standardize their backup stack to reduce vendor management.
- Gain access to all six parts of the demo series, schedule your one-on-one demo, or start your free 14-day trial to see what Axcient can do for your clients and your MSP.
Part 1: Deploying Chain-Free Backup Technology
During part one of the series, we focus on deploying Chain-Free backups or deploying the x360Recover agents. It’s straightforward. Partners log in to their Axcient x360 Portal and then log in to their vault to create individual client user accounts. From there, you download the agent, which can be used again and again to keep things simple. It can be used on physical machines, virtual machines, laptops, workstations, servers…it does not matter. It will be the same agent you’re deploying to all of the different types of infrastructure platforms that you want to back up. That keeps things nice and easy.
MSPs don’t need to worry about separate add-ons, plug-ins, licensing packs, or any of that. It’s just the same agents for everything. With that being said, that also gives you the same capabilities. So the same features that your servers have, your workstations also have. That means full virtualization, bare-metal restore, everything for your mobile workforces, your laptops, all the way to your servers, your physical, virtual, or even Azure, AWS, or Google-based public clouds.
Part 2: Securing Data with Local Cache
From there, we go into securing data with Local Cache in part two. If you use D2C or Direct-to-Cloud, Axcient’s hardware-free BCDR solution, Local Cache is an optional component for expedited capabilities. By nature, Direct-to-Cloud sends backup data directly from your source machine to the cloud – hence its name. Typically this is fine and dandy, but sometimes you need a faster SLA for data recovery.
If you are using D2C by itself, without any local cache, that’s perfectly fine, but you are at the mercy of whatever internet speeds your clients or the site to which you want to restore data. Local Cache is a lifesaver if they have very slow download speeds or the bandwidth is spotty. It gives you incredibly fast data recovery.
Local Cache can be configured in really any kind of storage media that the Windows operating system can see. That could be any UNC path, any kind of network share, a NAS, even a USB drive, or a USB stick. If you only have one or two systems at those smaller sites and don’t have a NAS or a more complex network, you can easily use any kind of USB drive. Of course, the sky’s the limit – you can use your own SAN, your own storage server, file server, NAS, whatever it might be. Local Cache can utilize that to restore at the network connected speeds that Local Cache is enabled with. For example, if you’re using gigabit, you now have gigabit access to all of your backup data. That applies to virtualization, to virtual disk creation, just a simple file folder recovery or database recovery, really anything that will be inside your actual backups.
Part 3: Limiting Downtime with Automation
In part three, we cover limiting downtime with automation. When you deploy a backup solution, it doesn’t do you any good if it doesn’t work or if you don’t know it’s working as intended. With Axcient’s automated virtualization checks, we virtualize your systems each and every single system you deploy – appliance-based or D2C-based. So however many laptops, virtual machines, servers, AWS, Azure-based servers…whatever you are deploying the backup agent onto, we will virtualize that every night and give you a screenshot. Furthermore, we also give you deeper dive data integrity checks with AutoVerify. We run VSS health checks, we do heartbeat scans of the VM itself, and disk checks inside the Windows containers themselves.
These automatic health checks alone set Axcient apart in the market. On top of that, we’re doing all of this from within the Windows VM itself – from the inside out, not the outside in. Many solutions look at your actual data container inside of your appliance, or inside whatever tool you are using or backing up with. That makes sure everything is good from the outside going in. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t actually do you a lot of good when you need to use that data – when those outside in drivers and outside in tools aren’t available.
A prime example of this situation is if you’re doing any kind of bare metal restore and you’re using a solution that’s not doing those deeper dive integrity checks. You really don’t know what you’ll get when you start doing the bare metal restore operation. This is because your backup data was so dependent on the outside in proprietary drivers, proprietary hypervisor, or some special configs that were being used by whatever tool you are using. Those are all gone when you actually need to use your raw backup data. With Axcient’s solution, everything is done within the actual Windows operating system itself – meaning the Windows container of your D2C backups or your appliance-based backups. That is a huge differentiator to consider.
In fact, as a best practice, I encourage MSPs to look at the solution you have deployed right now and really try to assess if it’s giving you true and accurate information. Things like false pauses, false negatives, all that good stuff. If you take advantage of Axcient’s free 14-day trial, you can compare your troublesome system on whatever solution you might be using now with our solution to see if there are any discrepancies. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Part 4: Ransomware Recovery with Virtual Office
Part four dives into one of the biggest threats in our cybersecurity landscape today: ransomware. To start, Virtual Office is the Axcient cloud failover state. The Axcient cloud allows you to virtualize anywhere from one to 100 to 1,000 systems. However, many you might need due to a variety of reasons. In that demo, we showcased ransomware recovery by deploying ransomware onto a machine that was being backed up with x360Recover. We walked through the individual steps to virtualize that ransomware-infected machine and were able to go back in time about an hour prior to the infection. From there, we virtualized in the Axcient cloud in the Virtual Office to recover completely.
Virtual Office is a full-featured virtualization layer in the Axcient data center. That gives MSPs the ability to create multiple gateways, multiple VPNs, and various types of VPN: port forwarding, SSL-based VPN, IPsec VPN, and even open VPN protocol. So with port forwarding, you have access to two or three public IP addresses that are unique to you and only you. That’s on a per Virtual Office instance. So that could be for just one system having a really bad day in the motherboard or hard drive crash, whatever it might be, all the way to a full-fledged DR scenario like a hurricane, flood, fire, or somebody spilled coffee on the entire server rack. Whatever it is, you’re able to virtualize one or many systems very easily in our cloud.
Part of the beauty of that is there’s no conversion needed. All of your backups are stored in a native virtualizable state, so when you need to virtualize them in the appliance, D2C, with Local Cache, or in the Axcient cloud in Virtual Office, everything is stored in a native virtualizable state. Then, when you need it, you just turn it on. Of course, it takes a few minutes to build the virtual layers and assign gateways and all that good stuff, but you’re able to virtualize the Axcient cloud within minutes, not hours. It’s incredibly easy and simplistic but full of features at the same time.
Speaking of, Virtual Office also includes runbooks. Runbooks allow you to orchestrate everything I just described above in Virtual Office. Assign however many systems you want in runbook 1 or runbook 2 for each individual client, and pre-orchestrate the entire DR scenario. Build a separate run book for your ACME Dental client, for example, with all mission-critical systems, including their SQL database, medical server, domain controller, etc. These can be included in runbook 1, for instance, or mission-critical runbook systems. Then you can create a second or a third runbook that has your secondary or even tertiary systems in their own individual runbooks. Once it’s created, just click the runbook, and it starts running through the whole sequence of virtualization. Runbooks allocate your specified CPU cores, the specified amount of RAM you want each VM to have, and it is fully customizable. You’re able to assign your networking ahead of time so any kind of IPsec, or gateway, or subnet rules you want to be assigned, you can do that proactively instead of reactively.
As a bonus, Virtual Office also enables disaster recovery (DR) testing. We don’t typically see MSPs providing any kind of DR testing regularly because of costs and difficulty. With Virtual Office, MSPs can provide DR testing at no additional cost. Axcient partners get 30 calendar days of virtualization time per endpoint. Please note that it is not per client but per endpoint. And that time can be split however you decide. You could have your DR scenario one week per quarter for the entire year if you wanted to, or two weeks for the first half of the year, or two weeks for the second half of the year. However you split it up, it enables you to see the actual virtualization time for each client to better prepare for recovery and prove your DR capabilities to clients.
Part 5: Profiting from Cloud Adoption
In part 5, we address cloud adoption and maximizing profitability. Not surprisingly, we are seeing a lot more public cloud adoption and hybrid environments. Unfortunately, that can create a fractured tech stack like what you see below. Some MSPs want to provide a separate tier for endpoint backup, a separate tier for virtual machines, and a separate tier for physical machines. They want to create backup tiers that align with a package model – i.e., a bronze, silver, and platinum package. Other MSPs have just adopted so many clients over time that have their own solution already in place. Now, those solutions are part of your stack, and you’re stuck managing them regardless of what you really think of their value.
A fractured stack increases hard costs or the final bill for so many solutions and leads to higher soft costs. Keeping your techs up to date, trained, and competent on how to use each of those solutions requires a lot of time, effort, resources, and overall, money. Techs have to be incredibly proficient with each solution to manage whatever disaster scenario might come up. Consider the costs of using a separate tool for endpoint backup, laptops, workstations, simple file level backup, and full image-based to your BDR, as you see with some of the vendors in the fractured stack diagram. On top of all that, there’s also the question mark you see under public cloud backup. Now you might need a second or third solution to back up your public cloud infrastructure, which is why hybrid networks are becoming more common.
Axcient covers all of those bases with one solution and one vendor. Like I explained above, Axcient uses the same backup agent and technology regardless of if you’re backing up an endpoint to a virtual machine, VMware, Hyper-V, Zen, a physical server, all the way up to your public cloud-hosted VMs, like Azure, AWS, and Google. It’s all done with the same technology, the same vendor, and the same backup. The only difference between the agents is whether it will be appliance-based or D2C. And you can change those after deployment, by the way. So if you have your D2C-based deployments for one client’s system, you can convert that to an appliance-based system and vice versa quite easily. Other than that, the only difference depends on the operating system you use.
Essentially, it’s two options. One is a workstation operating system like Windows 10 and Windows 11, and the other is server OS, i.e., 2019, 2022. That’s it. Each of those gives you unlimited storage and unlimited retention included with x360Recover. That’s a huge differentiator. Regardless of if you have a 10-year or 15-year retention on every single one of your systems, there is no issue. There are no artificial limitations. We’ve got you covered for HIPAA compliance, seven-year retention on systems, taxes, legal, financial, whatever. It’s incredibly simple.
Now, with cloud storage, there is a fair use clause. Each server has 5TB of pooled storage at the Axcient partner level for your MSP. Those 5TB can mix and match from one client to another. So if one system is using 20TB and another uses 200 gigs, it doesn’t matter as long as your overall accumulated pool is within 5TB. There’s no extra cost. I’ve been with Axcient for about seven years, and I’ve only seen a very few scenarios where that unlimited model, the 5TB included, didn’t work out of the box.
How Does Axcient Compare?
The best way to ensure that you have the right solutions in your stack is to compare. Axcient offers a lot of capabilities, simplicity, peace of mind, and profit growth, so it’s worth a look. Schedule a 1:1 Demo or Start Your Free 14-Day Trial for a hands-on experience in the Axcient x360 Portal. We’d also love to see you at one of our Upcoming Events – which could be another demo series, virtual Lunch and Learn guest webinar, or in-person event. Check out all the videos in this six-part series, plus more, on our YouTube channel
About the Author:
Cory Hinz // Sales Engineer Manager, Axcient
Cory Hinz is experienced and passionate about technologies and sales engineering with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and managed services (MSP) industry. Cory’s professional skills include solutions engineering, network architecture, data center, software as a service (SaaS), and training. He has a strong business culture focus, a professional mindset, and is constantly looking for better ways to improve the business-to-vendor relationship while being the catalyst between the Product and Revenue teams.
More Great Stuff From Our Blog:
Check out some other interesting pieces from our blog: Is Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace data the big hole in your business continuity plan as Ransomware attacks spike, we talked with Jason Phelps from Huntress Labs about planning for the next ransomware attack, our CEO David Bennett explains why the current cybersecurity landscape means traditional backup is dead, or learn how you can ditch pricey on-site appliances with Local Cache for Direct-to-Cloud BCDR.