Partner Story

Horizon Managed Services

MSP Saves Multimillion Dollar HVAC Business from Data Disaster

Horizon Managed Services’ story isn’t about transitioning from break-fix to managed services. Horizon was started three years ago by David Pino, an IT industry veteran with more than 17 years of experience, and the fact that “Managed Services” is part of the company’s name says something about its focus.

One thing that has changed within the past year, however, is the MSP’s BDR (backup and disaster recovery) provider. Its previous BDR product appeared to be working okay until one of Horizon’s customers needed to restore its data following an Exchange Server crash. “When we contacted the BDR vendor, they told us they didn’t have our data,” recalls Ricky Wilkerson, an IT technician at Horizon. “They even accused us of deleting our customers’ backups. Why would we ever do such a thing?”

The MSP made an immediate decision to stop working with that BDR company and started investigating other options. “We had already been using the Barracuda Email Security Gateway solution to protect our customers from email threats, and we were really happy with that product. So, we looked into Barracuda Backup – MSP and ended up liking it, too,” says Wilkerson.

Multimillion-Dollar Company Puts Barracuda Backup to the Test

Shortly after switching BDR vendors, Horizon migrated all of its clients’ backups from the legacy solution to Barracuda Backup – MSP, including one of its largest clients, a multimillion-dollar HVAC company that had 2 TB of active data. “This is a very important customer,” says Wilkerson. “Not only do we provide them with our entire suite of services, they are a business partner that backed us financially when the company was started.”

The HVAC company is highly dependent on its data and business applications, especially its VM Delta program, which it uses to remotely monitor and troubleshoot its clients’ temperature-controlled environments. “Without this system, our client loses visibility into its heating and cooling systems and has to go on-site to troubleshoot problems,” explains Wilkerson. “This was why we were very proactive when one of their eight hard drives that ran their VM Delta failed. The server was set up in a RAID 5 configuration, so it could operate just fine with one bad drive. But, as any IT professional knows, if a second drive fails, it can lead to a system failure.”

After the failed hard drive was replaced, that’s when things took a turn for the worse, recalls Wilkerson. “When a new drive is installed, there is a lot of writing that takes place while the system rebuilds itself,” he says. “All the extra writing was enough to cause one of the other drives to fail, and soon the entire system went down.”

Fortunately, everything was backed up on the Barracuda Backup appliance, so the MSP was able to restore its customer’s mission-critical application within four hours, followed by additional virtual machines a few hours later. “Eventually their remaining file server, non-critical applications, and the remaining portion of their 2 TB data set were restored, and the appliance did everything it was supposed to do,” Wilkerson says. “If it had failed, our customer would likely be out of business today. We now require all of our customers to back up their data with Barracuda MSP — without exceptions.”

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