Convincing customers to migrate their IT infrastructure to a completely cloud-based solution is a difficult sell, to say the least.
The production disruption alone is enough to kill the sale. So how does VDI Space, a successful cloud consulting firm and StorageCraft® partner, do it? Michael Fraser, CEO and founder of VDI Space, explains,
We lead with a business continuity solution. We start with an on-premise private cloud solution. Disaster recovery is necessary for a complete private cloud solution, and StorageCraft helps us round out the solution.
Michael has been using StorageCraft products for eight years, and when he and Christian Petrou founded VDI Space in 2011, continuing to rely on StorageCraft was a no-brainer. According to Christian,
From an administrative standpoint, there’s definitely a cost savings with StorageCraft. From the customer standpoint, driving down recovery times saves them substantially.
As COO for VDI Space, Christian understands the cost of downtime and how expensive it is for his SMB clients.
Most customers don’t realize how much downtime in a year their business can tolerate. Even with 99.99% uptime, that’s four hours of downtime a year. Multiply your average hourly pay by the number of your employees, then multiply that by four and you’ll see the cost of labor lost. That number doesn’t include lost revenue, operating costs, supply chain costs, and intangible downtime costs like dissatisfied customers and bad publicity.
Leading with the benefits of business continuity to alleviate the risk of downtime, VDI Space has been using StorageCraft to introduce hundreds of clients to the cloud. The ultimate goal is to migrate them to a completely virtual, cloud-based system. As Michael puts it,
Everyone needs business continuity. Our BDR solution with StorageCraft is our foot in the door. It’s a much easier sell compared to getting a customer to go to a 100% cloud-based environment. An on-premise disaster recovery solution allows the least amount of impact for the highest amount of uptime. It doesn’t affect the customer’s day-to-day production environment.
VDI Space specializes in building cloud solutions for technology companies such as managed service providers (MSPs), telecom companies, and hybrid cloud-security-virtualization providers. Recently, a telecom company in Puerto Rico asked for help building their cloud platform. The telecom, WorldNet, wanted to offer cloud services in addition to voice and data services to their customers.
Eating Your Own Dog Food
Michael and the VDI Space team convinced WorldNet to include disaster recovery as an additional service they could offer to subscribers.
The foot-in-the-door strategy paid off. The project included three phases:
- Upgrading the application set for internal use.
- Migrating the internal infrastructure to the cloud platform.
- Offering cloud and disaster recovery services to customers.
According to Michael,
We went from helping WorldNet build their cloud platform to deploying StorageCraft internally on their infrastructure. The eat-your-own-dog-food attitude gave their engineers a crash course in backup and recovery and prepared them to offer support to their future BDR customers.
The entire WorldNet deployment—including uninstalling old backup agents, installing StorageCraft agents, setting up replication, and configuring servers and alerts—took only a week.
We were able to do it over Christmas break. Five total days of deployment for 27 servers and over 1,000 virtual machines. We also built two BDR appliances from scratch.
The BDR solution included these pieces of the StorageCraft® Recover-Ability™ solution:
- StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® Server
- ShadowProtect Virtual
- StorageCraft® ImageManager™
- StoreageCraft® Intelligent FTP™ technology
- StorageCraft® HeadStart Restore® technology
Once the WorldNet cloud stack was built, VDI Space used the patented HeadStart Restore to migrate the existing infrastructure servers to the new cloud stack, creating a completely virtual, high-availability environment.
Now the WorldNet cloud solution provisions cloud services and makes them ready for production before physical connectivity with new subscribers. All that’s required for the customer is a plug-in, and they’re up and running with cloud services. A few months after launching their cloud solution, WorldNet started offering disaster recovery as a service.
Christian attributes the success of WorldNet’s BDR solution to the simplicity and flexibility of StorageCraft:
WorldNet has the peace of mind that their own infrastructure is protected. They can focus on their customers instead of worrying about their infrastructure. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without StorageCraft. Their technology is industry agnostic, and StorageCraft is very flexible to work with if we have any issues. It’s the best product on the market in the disaster recovery space.
As expected, the WorldNet BDR system has been working flawlessly since it was installed.
Over the past eight years, even before founding VDI Space, Michael and Christian have been StorageCraft fans.
As Michael puts it,
We work with StorageCraft and build our disaster recovery solutions with StorageCraft because we have tested every single product on the market over the years. StorageCraft still stands above the rest. It just works.
We can assure complete protection for our clients and partners with StorageCraft. And, it fits our target market of small to medium businesses. It works perfectly for SMB environments.
Because StorageCraft is industry agnostic, VDI Space can offer BDR solutions to a wider variety of clients. According to Christian,
Security, availability, and redundancy are the top three concerns of our clients. Tying these three together lets us offer them a digital insurance policy, if you will. No matter what industry a customer is in, no business insurance policy will cover intellectual data. It may cover their hardware and software, but not their data.
For most of their clients, VDI Space first installs an on-premise BDR solution to protect their existing environment. Then, after they migrate the client’s data to a cloud environment, their on-premise BDR can be leveraged for a “reverse cloud” solution. Michael describes it like this:
We replicate customer data in the cloud back to the on-premise BDR so they always have an image for all of their data. Clients can take those images and go somewhere else with them, if they choose. If something happens to VDI Space, the customer still has a copy of their data.
Their philosophy, according to Christian, is that no customer should be forced to use a single cloud provider permanently:
While we’d love for our clients to stay with us forever, we give them the option to leave. StorageCraft enables our clients to have an insurance policy against their cloud provider, keeping their data agnostic to a future cloud provider, not locking them in or monopolizing their data.
VDI Space is currently working on a new cloud-provider infrastructure solution, Layer 27, set to launch in early 2015. According to Michael,
StorageCraft will be the exclusive BDR platform for the new solution, of course.
About VDI Space
Founded in 2011, VDI Space is a global cloud consulting firm with more than 50 years of combined cloud, IT, and security consulting experience. Based in Incline Village, NV, the company has a primary data center in Las Vegas and offices in Seattle, WA; Santa Monica, CA; and Washington, D.C. VDI Space offers these consulting services:
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) / Desktops as a Service (DaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS)
- Video Survelliance as a Service (VSaaS)
- Biometric Access Control as a Service (BIOaaS)
- As-an-Expertise (aaE)
- Security and Compliance Assessment and Audits
- Custom Created Cloud Management Portal
All VDI Space engineers are certified in Dell, HP, IBM, Citrix, VMWare, Microsoft, and other networking and virtualization technologies.
“VDI Space’s vision is to provide companies the ability to create their own clouds that ensure revenue growth, security, compliance, and long-term viability,” says CEO Michael Fraser. “This is achieved through best practices based upon our 4A METHOD™: Audit, Architect, Automate and Assurance.” The 4A METHOD includes:
- Audit: Balance compliance with risk management
- Architect: Build using industry and VDI Space standards
- Automate: Seamlessly implement a proactive approach between secure clouds
- Assurance: Plan for long-term scale, service delivery and sales efforts
Their motto is, “We can get you to the finish line, not just build you a fancy car.”