Collins Communications, Inc.
Barracuda MSP Eliminates Data Recovery “Surprises” for MSP
Over the years Tim Carpenter, network systems specialist at IT service provider Collins Communications, has experienced numerous incidents such as server crashes, deleted files, and other IT glitches that would test any backup system’s mettle. He also knows all too well the unpleasant feeling of surprise and dread that follows a failed data restore.
One BDR vendor, for example, left a bad taste in Carpenter’s mouth after an incident that occurred three years ago. “We received a call from a healthcare customer following a server crash,” he says. “The customer’s domain controllers, medical practice software platforms, and billing servers were being backed up locally onto the backup provider’s appliance. What should have been a quick virtual machine [VM] restore turned into a much bigger ordeal after the VM restore and a bare metal recovery failed.” Collins ended up having to rebuild the server from scratch with just the customer's file and folder backups, but the MSP’s client had already taken a big financial hit.
“Unfortunately, this was not the only time our BDR vendor let us down,” says Carpenter. “A few years ago, we received a similar call from an office manager at a construction company telling us their servers were down. When we arrived, we confirmed that the physical machine hosting Windows Server Small Business Server (SBS) 2001 had totally given out.” Carpenter reached out to his BDR provider's technical support. “The support technician told me that he had tried a bare metal restore of the machine but could not get Windows to boot,” he says. “The BDR support tried helping me boot up the physical server, but we could not get it working. Instead, we ended up reinstalling Windows and recovering with just the file and folder backups.”
VMware Backup Saves MSP’s Data and Reputation
After these two data recovery surprises, Collins Communications began investigating other cloud backup and business continuity solutions and selected Barracuda MSP. Not long after signing on with Barracuda MSP, the MSP got to see the system in action — only this time it was with one of its own web servers.b
“We were running SUSE Linux on a Plesk web hosting platform as a VM,” says Carpenter. “After several incidents of our MySQL service crashing, we realized that the MySQL server had become corrupt, which affected four customers whose websites and data we were hosting. Fortunately, the data was protected by Barracuda MSP, so we were able to use the Barracuda Intronis VM backup to revert the server back to working again while we rebuilt Plesk on a new Ubuntu server. The backup kept us afloat until all websites were transferred to the new Ubuntu server. Had this recovery not worked, we could have easily lost those four customers, which would have meant not only several hundred dollars a month in lost revenue, but significant damage to our reputation, as well.”
Bringing in More Business With Barracuda MSP
While some of Collins Communications’ legacy BDR customers preferred not to make the move to Barracuda MSP initially, Carpenter says the rise of CryptoLocker ransomware has led to renewed interest in BDR among the MSP’s customer base. “We’ve encountered more than six CryptoLocker attacks among our customers over the past couple of years,” he says. “While one customer had to learn the lesson the hard way, we were able to use that example to convince many others to protect their data with Barracuda MSP.”
Besides Barracuda MSP's reliability, Carpenter says that being able to rebrand the solution under Collins’ name is important, too. “Our customers know that we personally support everything we sell them, and we have actually won business from a competitor that outsourced its support to India,” he says. “This summer we are expecting some crazy weather that will likely include hail and tornadoes, so we are making a big push to get the rest of our customers onto Barracuda MSP before any natural disasters, server crashes, or CryptoLocker incidents strike.”