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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Altaro Talks Data Protection, Disaster Recovery, Office 365 and More

interview altaro 

Altaro is a fast-growing developer of easy-to-use backup solutions for managed service providers (MSPs), IT resellers and IT departments.  And they specialize in backup for virtualized and cloud environments.  VMblog recently had the opportunity to speak with the company's tech evangelist, Andy Syrewicze, to learn more about the company and their solutions.

VMblog:  Even though the cloud and SaaS services like Office 365 have brought on a new era of data resiliency, data protection needs are greater than ever!  Why is that?

Andy Syrewicze:  It's absolutely true that data resiliency has gotten better. However with the increase in complexity, and the ever prevalent presence of Ransomware in the industry we're needing more recovery operations than ever. Additionally, with new services like Office 365 where data protection isn't included (to the surprise of some!), businesses are turning data protection applications for business continuity.

VMblog:  So, with the push to cloud, you would think that the need for physical device protection would be pretty much gone, but it's still going strong.  What are your thoughts as to why?

Syrewicze:  This is a question that I've long thought about. We've been hearing for 10+ years now that everything is going to be virtualized, and that hasn't come to pass. I think the main reason is that many organizations have that ONE physical box that CAN'T be virtualized for whatever reason (and the reasons are many). Pair that with service provider organizations that support many SMBs that still run on a single physical server and I think you have some of the key contributors to why we still see a need for physical device back. In fact Altaro has recently put a new Physical server back product into public beta. More information on that can be found here.

VMblog:  You Mentioned Office 365 earlier and how Microsoft isn't protecting customer's data within O365.  What about their archival services?  Isn't that a form of backup?

Syrewicze:  It's true that Archival services in Office 365 will give you some level of protection. However, that protection only spans a limited amount of time, Items need to be recovered individually, and a speedy recovery process isn't always guaranteed.

VMblog:  With all this talk about data protection, many people will inevitably move on to the disaster recovery discussion.  Can you clarify the differences that Altaro sees between backup and DR?

Syrewicze:  This is a question that comes up quite frequently and it really boils down to how fast do you want to be back up and running. With backup, in a recovery situation you have to wait for restoration jobs to complete or utilize a technology like our boot from backup functionality. Even in the latter case you're still facilitating a restore, it's just less impactful. Depending on the amount of data to be recovered it could take a significant amount of time before your organization is back up and running 100%. To some organizations, that's acceptable. For those businesses that need production systems back to 100% in a short amount of time, that's where DR comes in. With Altaro VM Backup's Replication and DR capabilities this basically amounts to having a DR warm site somewhere. The selected VMs are replicated to that location and in the event of a failure, those VMs can simply be turned on quickly to pick up production responsibilities. The difference really comes down to speed of recovery.

VMblog:  DR can be expensive, right?  So, what if I'm an SMB, and my resources are limited.  What are my options?

Syrewicze:  Again, it comes down how quickly do you need to recover? Most organizations can tolerate a longer outage than they think they can. Leadership needs to sit down with IT and determine what that amount of time is. A lower RTO (Recovery Time Objective) usually results in lower cost. However, if you are one of those organizations that really MUST be back up quickly, that's unfortunately the cost of doing business. Hosting all the DR equipment yourself can be expensive. If you find an Operational Expenditure model works better for your organization, you may want to look at using a public cloud platform like Azure as your DR location. We have a whitepaper that discusses this scenario if you're interested in reading.   

VMblog:  With all this talk about backup and DR it's worth pointing out that the space is quite saturated.  What makes Altaro different?

Syrewicze:  Our claim to fame here at Altaro has always been in simplicity and ease of use. We take some of these traditionally difficult technologies (Like DR) and make them easy to setup and consume. Additionally we aim to do so without breaking the bank as well, because we understand that not all organizations have an enterprise IT style budget!

VMblog:  As we end, is there anything else Altaro is working on that you'd like to share? 

Syrewicze:  Well I've already mentioned the physical server backup beta, but I'd also like to take this opportunity to mention that we're also working on Sharepoint Online and OneDrive for Business support for our Office 365 backup product. Be on the lookout for those in the future if you're interested!

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Published Monday, June 24, 2019 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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