Even the smallest SMBs — from auto mechanics and accountants to florists and nail salons — now rely heavily on IT. As IT professionals, we all understand the value of protecting data using local and cloud backup and recovery software, but for many businesses there’s more at stake than simply data recovery. When companies use IT to automate all kinds of business processes, there’s a heightened risk that an IT failure — whether it’s localized or more extensive — can devastate your customers’ small business operations.
Enter Fast Failover-as-a-Service (FFaaS). FFaaS helps your business customers minimize the crippling damage of server or virtual machine (VM) failures by letting you restore applications from image backups using dedicated backup systems. Your role is to spec the solution to meet their application needs, keep tabs on successful backups, and — when necessary — monitor recoveries, all remotely through the cloud.
Why is FFaaS a must-have offering for IT solution providers? Here are three reasons:
Reason #1: FFaaS delivers real value for your customers
Maybe your FFaaS prospects already use your data protection services, maybe not. Regardless, we’re talking about a fundamentally different kind of service here. Because FFaaS lets you bring a working business process back from the brink, this is a service that directly protects your customers’ bottom lines.
This isn’t a knock on standard image-based backups, application-aware, hypervisor-aware, or even the old standby file-and-folder backup and recovery services, but none of these other options offer the same kind of protection.
Why not? It boils down to Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs). By spinning up server and VM instances from recent image backups, you can reduce downtime to minutes, compared to the hours or even days otherwise required to restore systems, re-install software, and recover application data. That’s a substantial differentiator because servers often crash at the worst possible times, like peak transaction times.
Try asking one of your customers what a two-hour outage might cost them in terms of lost revenues or hours of labor, and you’ll get a glimpse of the value of a FFaaS offering.
This video explains why the Intronis ECHOplatform hybrid cloud solutions offer a simple, cost-effective vehicle for your FFaaS offering.
Reason #2: It’s an easy way to boost your revenues
The incremental FFaaS overhead — beyond what’s required to set up basic file-and-folder backup — involves developing an understanding of your customers’ workloads. This is essential for making sure you deploy the right storage and server resources for backup and failover.
Ideally, you’ll want to stand up a solution that can run that application workload for as long as it takes to bring the production environment back to a healthy state. This might mean a day, a week, or even longer, depending on the circumstances.
Just make sure your recovery environment — server, storage vault, and/or cloud resources — meets the needs of the application and the hypervisor/operating system.
Reason #3: It takes you deep into your customers’ IT
The extra research you get to conduct on your customers’ businesses is the REAL reason you need to offer FFaaS because in the IT solutions provider business, a little bit of intelligence can go a long way. For example, a conversation about a performance bottleneck can uncover a network configuration error or a more serious architecture problem.
From this perspective, you can leverage your due diligence to uncover all kinds of new and rewarding opportunities. Where these insights lead is up to you. The time-and-materials projects may offer low-hanging fruit, but don’t pass up the opportunity to conceive an entirely new managed service offering.
Not that it’s all about the money, either. The fact is, the better you understand your customers’ IT, the higher the value you provide as a trusted advisor. The higher your value, the tighter your business relationships.