Guest Column | February 7, 2014

The Top 4 Most Overlooked BDR Features

By Neal Bradbury, cofounder and VP of channel development, Intronis

When it comes to selecting a business partner for your backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution, there are dozens of options to consider, and personally testing 20+ products isn’t feasible or affordable for most IT service providers. So, how do you know what BDR solution is the best choice for you and your customers? Here’s a quick litmus test that you can use to ensure you don’t overlook some important features during your evaluation: 

1. The File- Vs. Image-Based Backup Trap. Put simply, there are two types of backups: file-based and image-based. Some backup products perform only file-based backups and others perform only image-based backups. This fact has led some to believe that the two types of backups are in a competition akin to the Blu-ray Disc vs. HD DVD format war that took place between 2006 and 2008. Let’s be clear: There is no backup format war — each type of backup offers specific benefits and drawbacks. To properly protect your clients, you should select a BDR solution that supports both types of backups. For example, on premises image backups are ideal for protecting clients from major server failures. File-based backups, on the other hand, are ideal for protecting clients’ mission-critical data offsite in a secure cloud data center, which protects their data from fires, floods, and natural disasters.

2. Unnecessary Hardware Expenses. One other important differentiator among the dozens of BDR choices is the hardware requirements associated with the BDR application. Some BDR products only work with specific hardware products, while others are hardware agnostic. If you’re doing BDR right and making local and offsite copies of your customers’ data, using a state-of-the-art local backup appliance (i.e. expensive) can often be safely avoided. Plus, requiring customers to buy a specific hardware appliance can raise price objections that lead to lost sales and/or compromised backup solutions (e.g. local-only or offsite-only backups).

3. Offsite Backup Limitations. Although there has been an explosion in cloud adoption over the years, it’s important to keep in mind that there exists a wide range of features and functions among cloud providers. Before selecting a BDR vendor partner, be sure to do your due diligence and ask the hard questions upfront. Here are a few important ones to start with:

  • Is there a maximum cap on how much data you can store? Some cloud providers have specific data cap restrictions that, if reached, will require you to set up a customer on another server that must be managed from a separate portal.
  • What are the bandwidth limitations for the offsite storage?
  • What is the maximum number of accounts an IT service provider can have on the provider’s portal?
  • What is the maximum number of appliances a VAR can manage (total as well as per account) on the backup provider’s portal?

4. BDR Support. No matter how tech savvy your company is, situations will arise that require you to contact your BDR vendor for assistance. When that happens, it’s imperative that you can quickly reach a product expert who can resolve the issue. Some BDR vendors try to boost their profits by using cheaper overseas tech support centers. Prior to selecting a vendor, be sure to confirm it has U.S.-based support. Additionally, it’s a good idea to contact a couple of their reseller partners and get the resellers’ feedback on the vendor’s support.
Choosing a business partner to help create and manage your BDR service is one of the most important service decisions a channel partner will make. By using the above suggestions as a litmus test for selecting a BDR vendor partner, you’ll reduce your chances of experiencing buyer’s remorse down the road.

For additional information on key BDR features, see Intronis’ “Online Backup Comparison.”