All major research institutes in the world agree: the amount of digital data is growing exponentially and will continue to grow at an amazing rate. Analysts indicate that the growth almost doubles every two years. More than three billion people, millions of enterprises and as many sensors and devices, ‘things’, are responsible for the enormous accumulation of data.
One thing is certain: the explosive growth of data offers service providers a great opportunity to provide services for availability, back-up and data recovery (ADR). ADR remains essential for all parties in the market and will become increasingly important as data protection requirements and regulatory compliance – such as GDPR, cybercrime and data theft – have increased. Some end users find their own way to the public cloud for ADR services, but many will ask service providers for support, especially when they want to benefit from the agility, scalability and security which native to Microsoft Azure. That’s why data growth enables service providers to really stand out and add value to customers by improving their quality of service with ADR on Azure.
Ask service providers who they think is the expert company for availability and disaster recovery for virtual machines and many of them will mention ‘Veeam’. They have earned their spurs with ADR in physical data centres, but the company and software have developed from that first solution to what it is today: an intelligent, enterprise-grade solution for availability and disaster recovery. Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 offers availability for all workloads – virtual, physical and cloud, including Azure and Office 365 – from a single management console. Veeam mentions the following capabilities as the five most important ones:
- High-speed recovery: rapid recovery of any data in the specified way
- Data loss avoidance: low recovery point objectives (RPOs) and streamlined disaster recovery (DR).
- Verified recoverability: guaranteed recovery of every file, every application and every virtual server – every time.
- Leveraged data: low-risk deployment with production-like testing.
- Complete visibility: proactive monitoring and alerting of issues before operational impact.
Veeam Availability is therefore a comprehensive ADR solution, specially designed for managing the infrastructure in the data centre. And that is exactly what service providers have often been doing for their customers for years. How low can the threshold be to go to the cloud?
ADR and Azure: the golden combination
Although Veeam is known as the expert solution for ADR services, the combination with Microsoft Azure Cloud adds all the benefits related to cloud computing in general and Azure in particular: cost effectiveness, flexibility, scalability, security and compliance, and privacy. In Azure, everything revolves around pay-per-use, scaling up and down on a global platform (54 regions worldwide), rapid deployment of services in hours instead of weeks, short time-to-market and last but not the least bombproof security and compliance with multi-layer, built-in security controls and unique threat intelligence, monitored by a team of more than 3,500 global cybersecurity experts.
Improve quality of service
There is no doubt: Veeam Availability on Azure is an extremely powerful combination for service providers to improve their quality of service.
Cut costs, improve margins and lower the Total Cost of Ownership
The first point is the actual cost of the on-premises physical data centre. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) consists not only of initial investments and/or depreciations for the building and equipment, but also of subsequent recurring costs, such as for maintenance, energy for electricity and cooling, networking, personnel and additional costs for meeting all applicable requirements compliance. Azure offers a similar infrastructure in the cloud at a fraction of the annual costs for the physical datacentre.
Secondly, there are the costs of storage itself. As the previous section shows, the costs of storage in a physical data centre must be high to cover all costs involved. In the cloud, storage costs have fallen dramatically. The fact that cloud storage is so cheap nowadays offers many new business opportunities for service providers to differentiate their services.
Improve quality of service by service differentiation
Many service providers already offload storage workloads to the cloud. In addition, they also offer ADR services in their own physical data centres. How can service providers further develop this dual-offering business model and thus improve their quality of service? By differentiating their service offering. There are different scenarios.
1. Because Azure storage is so cheap, service providers can use Azure's scalable infrastructure with Veeam Availability to differentiate their ADR service offering, depending on the needs and requirements of their customers. For example, basic storage on Azure can be offered at very low prices if data only needs to be stored and recovery is not necessary. Level two can be standard ADR with Veeam Availability on Azure, offering all the benefits of Azure and Veeam together. Because these two levels are mainly implemented in the cloud, valuable space is released in the physical data centre. An excellent opportunity for service providers to offer premium ADR in their on-prem data centre, for example to customers who require low latency or high performance and are willing to pay extra fees for these guarantees.
2. If data recovery plans are not regularly tested, they can incur significant costs due to site failure or downtime. Another scenario for service providers can therefore be to develop a test and validation offering with Veeam DataLabs. In this solution ADR procedures are regularly tested and certified with a validation certificate. Certified procedures provide an additional security for customers who need more assurance that their data recovery procedures are up-to-date, when they need to be recovered.
3. A third scenario service providers might consider to differentiate and improve their quality of service is to make more frequent back-ups in Azure (low costs) than they would do in their own data centres. Since Microsoft has a data retention period of 99 years, it is easy to comply with legal requirements, even around the globe.
Improve quality of service by offering top-level data protection compliance
The enforcement of GDPR (the EU General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018 was one of the most important changes to data privacy regulation in recent decades. GDPR gives people more power over their personal data and requires companies to be more transparent in the way they deal with data. In the event of non-compliance, the fines imposed may amount to millions. It is very difficult for individual companies to maintain compliance with GDPR, as with other regulations. Microsoft operates on a different scale and has the most comprehensive range of complianceofferings for GDPR and dozens of other national, regional and industry-specific requirements, ready to use for service providers to improve their services.
Two additional benefits for service providers
The previous sections show that it is relatively easy to improve the quality of service with Veeam on Azure for ADR services. In addition, Veeam has two more assets to make life easier for service providers. One of them is that Veeam uses a rather attractive commercial model, because service is paid per protected instance instead of per gigabyte. This makes it relatively easy for service providers to use the Veeam model in their calculations. The other is the Veeam Availability Console for service providers. This application provides service providers with a single pane of glass to manage and monitor multiple clients in one view for their own data centres and in the cloud. A unique feature for service providers.
Insight can help
With a well-thought-out portfolio of ADR services on the Azure cloud platform, service providers have a golden combination to improve the quality of their ADR services to customers, grow their business and stand out from their competitors. Especially because they can add these services to their existing portfolio and develop new, smart services around them. And if there are any questions about technical support, business challenges, licenses and more, Insight is always there to help. A dedicated team of cloud experts are eager to invest all their expertise and knowledge to help define the best possible ADR solution for each partner.