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Death to backup

01 Oct 2010

Backup means different things to different people. From an IT perspective, it means getting servers restored as quickly as possible with as little data loss as possible, at minimal impact to users. This might sounds easy, and it is to some groups – those who use the new generation of backup, recovery and disaster recovery solutions that leverage the next generation technology of Real-Time Recovery (RTR).

Historically tape backup has been slow, cumbersome, painful, expensive and unreliable. It is complex to deploy and manage, and protects data only once per day. Databases need additional agents, options and modules. Almost everyone has experienced tape backup and/ or restore failures. Tape has now unquestionably been relegated to archival, not backup and recovery, technology.

In contrast, Real-Time Recovery solutions backup in real time every 15 minutes and feature self-healing technology to help ensure maximum backup integrity. Moreover they protect data and databases without requiring additional agents, options or modules.

However, it is its ability to restore a complete server, including operating system, data and database, in less than three minutes that is truly astonishing and that is to its exact state from 15 minutes ago. This is all possible as it protects data at the sector level rather than the fi le level.

The new sales paradigm is to create recurring monthly revenue from customers to deliver predictable and ongoing profi t.

Imagine converting a customer who just bought $5,000 of backup software (e.g. fi ve servers) to an account generating between $25,000 and $50,000 per year in profi t for backuprelated services, with minimal cost of sale.

Traditionally, resellers would sell backup software, agents and options, the tape drive and some media. Partners who leverage the RTR market with solutions like StorageCraft ShadowProtect have demonstrated how their profi tability can be exponentially increased, while delivering substantially improved customer satisfaction.

Step 1: Grow your customer base; become a true, trusted adviser

Consider the following situation: as a reseller you need to fi nd new customers (who are already buying from another reseller). Almost every end user has the same concerns or problems with their existing (tape) backup technology – it is slow, painful, complex, expensive and unreliable. With RTR you can solve those problems.

Consider the following coldcalling elevator pitch from StorageCraft: "Mr/Ms Prospect, we enable our customers to reduce data loss to minutes, have almost instant disaster recovery and (usually) offer it for less than the maintenance you are spending on your existing backup product. Would you be interested in seeing a quick 15-minute demonstration on how we can restore a server in typically less than three minutes?”

At the meeting, demonstrate StorageCraft VirtualBoot technology to the customer – it really does take less than three minutes to restore a server using ShadowProtect. Then show restoration of a fi le in under 30 seconds and explain that they will never again lose more than 15 minutes of data, or database transactions, for around $1,000 per server. Our partners typically see over 85% conversion rates by doing a quick 15-minute demo. StorageCraft runs regular reseller sales training sessions to help educate our partners.

Step 2: Sell monthly services instead of products that solve pain points

We are seeing our partners transition their go-to-market strategy from selling products to providing solutions to their customers. Below are just a few examples of value-added services that help improve and ensure the recoverability of customers data, databases and complete systems using ShadowProtect:

  • Remote Monitoring of their backups for a fi xed fee per month – perhaps $40-$75 per month, per server.

  • Testing Backups – Most recoveries fail due to backups not being tested. With ShadowProtect simply dial into the customer’s server, mount a backup image, which typically takes less than 60 seconds, then open a fi le to test that you can restore their data. Charge your customers $75 – $200 per server, per week and per month.

  • Hot Standby / Loan Server – Offer a service to your customers to use a temporary server in the event of a disaster. Use StorageCraft HeadStart Restore to migrate the VirtualBoot temporary disaster recovery environment to the loan hardware. Charge $150 – $250 per month.

  • Offsite Backups – As they now have most of the infrastructure in place, this becomes simple and profi table at between $250 – $400 per month.

  • Half-yearly / annual full disaster recovery testing – At pre-agreed times, use VirtualBoot to fully simulate a disaster recovery locally at the customer site, or at your remote data centre. Charge perhaps $1000 – $2500, depending on complexity and number of servers.

Step 3: Ensure maximum customer satisfaction Get customer testimonials and success stories from your customers. Use similar methodology to sell a range of additional services and solutions to your customer. The key is not to sell the whole monthly subscription up front – sell it in bite-sized chunks and move the customer slowly down the monthly route, each time delivering better and more powerful recovery options. Backup is dead, solve your customer’s recovery issues and you will become their trusted advisor and grow your business.

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