ROBOBAK Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Agentless Backup Technology

The debate rages on. Which backup architecture makes the most sense, agentless or agent based. While there is much to be said for both technologies, we must consider the pros and cons of both.

Agentless architecture was designed with scalable manageability in mind. The architecture requires the install of only one backup agent on a selected machine and through one centrally managed console all networked machines can then be backed up. Communication is established using communication protocols such as FTP, CIFS/SMB, Telnet or SSh.

In order to connect agentlessly to a networked machine, the proper administrative authentication is required. While agent based architectures can be authenticated with a local system account, agentless architecture requires that the target machine be setup with a username and password that is authenticated to accept network connections. Every backup is monitored, managed and routed through the centrally administered console.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that offer agentless backup technologies are appealing to end customers because they usually have a very simple pricing model. These MSPs don’t typically charge a device, agent or bandwidth fee and instead determine your price based on the actual stored amount of data that resides in their cloud.

Agentless backup architecture also offers benefits to MSPs that want to launch their own private vaults. One of the most important benefits of this architecture is a simplified licensing model. Take ROBOBAK, an agentless based backup solution, licensing model as an example. ROBOBAK’s licensing model is based on a compressed / de-duplicated storage limit. Meaning, with ROBOBAK, a client could backup any number of machines through one centrally administrated backup console on the network, without having to worry about additional licenses or permissions from the software vendor.

Agentless architecture supports almost all operating systems, databases and email formats that are in use today. Features such as hot database backup, mailbox level restore, and open file backup can be set up to run continuously or as a predefined schedule. All backups using ROBOBAK are based on THIN incremental or differential technology and allow the user to keep both local and remote copies of their data.

Some of the benefits of agentless backups include:

1. Centralized administration
2. Simple pricing and licensing models
3. Install the agent as many times as you wish (no limits or device fees)
4. Support for a large range of operating systems, databases and email formats
5. Local and remote backup capabilities

Near ubiquitous connectivity has expanded the digital universe at a major cost to the environment. Huge amounts of money are being invested in data centers and these server farms are driving up the demand for energy and other resources. Yet, some experts estimate that only about 70% of the data stored by enterprises in the cloud is ever accessed!

It is estimated that the average utilization rate for a networked server is between 5-15 percent and between 20-40 percent for a non-networked servers. In brief, many companies are paying high-energy costs while only utilizing a fraction of their capacity.

Going Green with Block Level, Global De-duplication

Today’s green IT initiatives are pushing the technology industry for change. Block level de-duplication is an efficient method of minimizing the impact of data storage on the environment. The basic concept of block level de-duplication is that it reduces the amount of redundant data that is being stored. Storage requirements for multiple copies and variations of a file are significantly reduced by a process that discovers and logs exact duplicates across files and only stores the block once on disk. Files are then reconstructed by the backup system at restore time. Block level de-duplication can reduce network storage and bandwidth usage by up to 30% by achieving a 3:1 native data to compression/de-duplication ratio.

Operational costs of storage are high. As a result, these costs are a prime candidate for green computing optimizations. Different storage platforms have different attributes and these attributes impact performance, security and power utilization. Take for example tape libraries. These appliances are expensive to operate and require that tapes be physically moved and stored offsite in a climate controlled archive center. This is both costly to your budget and to the environment.

Inline block level de-duplication is a pre-process de-duplication technology that reduces data size before it is sent over the wire into storage. Minimal disk space, lower power consumption, and less cooling requirements, ensure that block level de-duplication adheres to green computing initiatives. Disk based de-duplication eliminates the need for tape usage and offers benefits such as reduced transportation costs, data security, better recovery time objectives (RTO), and improved recovery point objectives (RPO).

ROBOBAK is a complete “green” cloud based data protection solution for the Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) backup. ROBOBAK is designed to empower MSPs, VARs, and corporations to create public or private cloud based backup solutions.

Let’s face it, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes because it’s just human nature. This also holds true for data backup because no matter what processes you have in place, things will go wrong. This includes forgetting to run a critical backup, mistakenly losing a tape or DVD or simply not monitoring backups at all.

Human error can be eliminated all together by using the correct offsite backup solution because your data protection would happen automatically without human touch. You would never have to be worried again about forgetting to run a backup, physically moving a tape offsite or purchasing and maintaining expensive hardware and software.

Taking Human Error Out of Backup for Small Business

Other benefits of cloud based offsite backup include protecting you and your organization against disgruntled employees by keeping your data encrypted, improving cash flow by paying monthly for the space you use and the cost savings of eliminating the need for an expensive IT agent.

Let’s face it, you as a small business owner already wear enough different hats and worrying about your data is the last thing you should be focused on. You need an all in one, set it and forget it, cloud backup solution that provides automatic schedules, encryption, compression, and deduplication. ROBOBAK is this solution. Let a professional Managed Service Provider (MSP) running the ROBOBAK solution alleviate this headache by providing you the reporting, security and peace of mind that your data needs. As Edward Murphy would say: “If anything can go wrong, it will”.

Those dreaming the dream of unlimited online storage forever and ever just got a rude wakeup call.

A Gartner analyst says companies offering unlimited online storage are “already doing things like bandwidth throttling to help control the volume of data being stored and limiting the types of files you can backup,” according to a Computerworld article. And a major provider of online backup services says it will no longer offer unlimited plans, moving to a tiered pricing plan. That, according to PCworld.com, “destroys” the “dreams of essentially infinite online storage.”

The downfall of the great unlimited cloud storage era is good news for local and non venture capital backed managed service providers (MSPs), for whom unlimited online storage had become a competitive nightmare.

Is Unlimited Online Storage Going the Way of the DODO Bird?

MSPs lost business to these companies or, at the very least, were only able to act as resellers for them. The costs of building out a managed online storage infrastructure were prohibitive under the unlimited storage scenario, especially when all the big companies were offering the same services at a fraction of what MSPs could sell it for without losing their shirts in the process.

But now, if the major name vendors are moving to tier-based pricing models, that makes it possible for local MSPs to compete for the backup business. And the local guys have an advantage in going for the business that the big guys can’t possibly hope to match: the local guys already know their community and know their customer base, and can deliver a far more personalized level of service that meets their customers’ individual needs. All of this, while providing them with software that solves their challenges and of course enables them to make a solid profit as well.

At ROBOBAK, we have excellent relationships with a number of MSPs throughout North America and beyond, and it’s obviously in our best interest for these MSPs to succeed. MSPs who have deployed ROBOBAK to their customers are able to deliver a full range of benefits, such as cloud based live Exchange and SQL data protection, agentless backup and restore and deduplication. Plus, unlike some of the bigger venture capital backed MSPs, local MSPs are able to tell their customers, “here’s where your data is being stored, and here’s who’s storing it.” Don’t underestimate that last point; trust builds relationship and provides peace of mind.

To be fair, several online backup companies still offer cheap, unlimited, flat rate cloud based storage, but the real question remains, for how much longer? ROBOBAK is pleased to say that tier-based pricing is where our channel partners have been all along.