Elevated Technologies (ET) is a well-established managed service provider (MSP) with many loyal clients. The firm prides itself on understanding each client’s business and delivering IT services to meet their specific needs. When one of its MSP clients wanted to deploy a new application on infrastructure in the cloud rather than on premises, ET expanded its offerings to include infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
“Power to the client’s site was unreliable, which caused system outages. This was particularly problematic for remote users, who otherwise weren’t affected by the power issues,” explained Jason Rorie, President and Chief Technical Officer of ET. “Rather than making a big investment in a UPS system, the client decided that running the application offsite would be a more cost-effective solution.
“In addition to meeting our client’s need, we knew IaaS could become a strategic part of our business,” Rorie continued. “But before we could ramp up our private cloud infrastructure business, we had to find an efficient, affordable backup solution for our Hyper-V environment. We had used Hyper-V for a long time, and there was no question it would be the platform for our private cloud infrastructure. However, the backup tool we were using was causing some difficulties, and we knew it couldn’t support our business strategy moving forward.
“We shouldn’t have been surprised that the backup solution we chose to ramp up and protect our cloud business would also become a significant part of our MSP business. Veeam gave us the opportunity to marry both sides of our business, and our revenue more than doubled within two years,” Rorie added.
ET had encountered several challenges with its previous backup tool.
“We couldn’t rely on email notifications of backup failures, so we had to manually check to see if backups ran successfully,” Rorie said. “Agent updates were another challenge. We had to update agents on every virtual machine (VM) and then reboot each VM—sometimes several times. We want to keep reboots of client VMs to an absolute minimum, and we certainly don’t want to have to do them for agent updates.”
After surveying the market and testing several backup tools, ET replaced its existing tool with Veeam® Backup & Replication™. Veeam provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Veeam not only eliminated the shortcomings of the existing backup tool, but it also provided faster backup and recovery, which ET uses to differentiate itself in a highly competitive market.
“Veeam’s email notifications are reliable, so we no longer have to take the time to perform manual checks for backup success or failure,” Rorie explained. “Reliable email notifications are hugely important to us and help us operate efficiently and keep costs down. Another important point is Veeam is agent-free. We don’t have to deploy and manage agents on VMs, saving more time. And with Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery, we can restore a VM in fewer than 5 minutes.”
The IT team also uses Veeam for file and email recovery, which take only a few minutes.
“Clients simply submit a ticket to our ConnectWise system just as they would for any request, and a few minutes later they have the file or Exchange item they need,” Rorie said.
“Clients have a lot of choices for IaaS, which means we have to offer distinct advantages at a competitive price,” he continued. “Veeam’s fast and reliable backup and replication help us differentiate ourselves with 2- to 4-hour recovery point objectives (RPOs) depending on clients’ specific needs, and Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery and assisted failover enable 5-minute recovery time objectives (RTOs). With Veeam, we can attract new clients, and we can offer current clients new and enhanced services.”
Shortly after deploying Veeam to protect its cloud infrastructure, ET introduced Veeam to its MSP clients.
“In a typical MSP situation, we explain to a client how Veeam will help his company meet recovery objectives,” Rorie said. “If he wants an offsite component for disaster recovery (DR), we’ll replicate his VMs to our cloud so we can provide DR as a service. In this case, the MSP client also becomes a cloud service client. Veeam enables us to implement a complete data protection strategy for our clients.”
Rorie said Veeam also helps ET pursue clients it might not have targeted before partnering with Veeam including other MSPs and large companies with their own IT managers or staffs.
“Having Veeam in our back pocket gives us the ability to go after larger clients where MSP isn’t a play because the company has its own IT staff,” he explained. “We go in as a professional services provider to help these companies design backup and recovery solutions—based on Veeam—in their virtualized environments. Many of them also want that offsite DR component, and we become their cloud provider for that.”
Rorie said many of his MSP peers don’t operate their own hosting services. When they design and implement IT solutions for their clients, they address disaster recovery (DR) by replicating VMs to public clouds or ET’s private cloud. In the latter case, ET bills the MSP peer, who in turn bills its client.
“Clients are nervous about sending their data to public clouds,” he explained. “They’re more comfortable with someone they know protecting their data. They like using the same provider for managed services and cloud services. They like working with a single vendor and paying one bill.”
ET calls its IaaS offering the ET Private Cloud Office. It provides clients with a secure way to host their applications, email and data in a central location, giving them the ability to work anywhere in the world from practically any device. Veeam Backup & Replication protects clients’ applications and data in the ET Private Cloud Office.
ET Private Cloud Storage is for MSP clients. Their VMs are replicated to ET’s data center for DR. Managed backup is also available to guarantee VMs are backed up properly. Veeam Cloud Connect virtualizes traffic between Veeam infrastructure at client sites and ET. Data from each client is transferred over a secure socket layer (SSL) connection, which simplifies firewall configuration for ET and eliminates the need for a virtual private network (VPN) connection. Client data can be protected at rest with optional encryption at the source.
“Our goal is for all our managed service clients to be virtualized, protected by Veeam and connected to us via Cloud Connect for offsite backup and DR,” Rorie said. “We originally chose Veeam to protect hosted VMs in our cloud, but it’s done so much more than that. We now protect all customer VMs with Veeam, whether on premises or in the cloud.”
Veeam Cloud Connect opens up an additional revenue stream for ET because it provides a pipeline to the Veeam ecosystem, enabling ET to become a backup target for Veeam customers. As a Veeam Cloud Provider (VCP) with Veeam Cloud Connect, ET can meet new clients’ needs for offsite backup and complementary DR services. A Veeam customer can add ET as a service provider and his cloud repository at ET will appear in his backup console.
From a Veeam customer’s perspective, Veeam Cloud Connect provides a fully integrated, secure and efficient way to move backups to ET. They avoid the upfront costs associated with building their own offsite infrastructures and the ongoing operational costs. They also achieve peace of mind knowing their backups are offsite and readily available for recovery. Moreover, they minimize data loss in a catastrophic disaster. ET can restore a company’s backups to a hosted private cloud where ET or the company can recover VMs.
In 2014, MSPmentor 250 included Rorie as one of the world’s leading MSP executives and experts. He was honored for building a managed service practice and a cloud service practice that grew from $100,000 in revenue to $1 million in revenue in just four years and with fewer than six employees.
“Veeam absolutely helped me achieve this honor,” Rorie said. “If MSPs aren’t prepared to offer cloud services, they won’t be around in five years. Veeam helped us design a solid strategy to protect our cloud business and to build upon our cloud business through our MSP business. We wouldn’t have cloud services without Veeam.”
Part of ET’s growth plan involved moving to a new, updated data center. More than 100 VMs had to be migrated with minimal downtime.
“We brought up a Veeam infrastructure in the new data center ahead of time,” Rorie said. “We replicated the production VMs to the new location using Veeam, powered down the host and moved it to the new location too. Over several weekends, we used Veeam to fail over production VMs from the old data center to the new data center. Failover for each VM took 2 minutes or less. Veeam helped minimize the stress and workload of migrating VMs from one data center to another.”
BenefitsEfficient backup and recovery save time and keep costs down
Before ET could ramp up its cloud business, it needed an efficient, affordable backup and recovery solution for Hyper-V. Not only did Veeam Backup & Replication eliminate the shortcomings of the existing backup tool, it also provided faster backup and recovery, enabling ET to operate more efficiently and keep costs down.Competitive recovery objectives increase client acquisition, retention and company revenue
With Veeam Backup & Replication, ET differentiated its cloud business in a highly competitive market by offering competitive recovery objectives. Between ET’s growing cloud and MSP businesses, revenue more than doubled within two years.Veeam technology leveraged across MSP and cloud businesses
After deploying Veeam Backup & Replication to protect its cloud infrastructure, ET introduced Veeam to its MSP clients. “They often need offsite backup for DR and become cloud service clients as well,” Rorie said.