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Hugging hardware is outdated - the new trend is cuddling a cloud

The world is changing and as Nick Booth finds out after a chat with Arcserve the days of stroking the tin is coming to an end

As a rash purchaser and reluctant user of Microsoft’s Office 365, I can see why people might want the assurance of hardware hugging. How can you trust something you can’t touch?

You can’t hug a cloud. You can’t even visualise it. Nobody makes cuddly clouds that can be given away on exhibition stands. If you want to squeeze something, it’ll have to be a stress ball with the name of a server maker on it.

Perhaps that’s about to change, because Arcserve claims to have cracked the credibility gap. The storage specialist claims to have fine tuned the processes of backup and restore to the point of instant gratification.

So when you click, there’s no time to even cross your fingers, let alone squeeze a stress ball or hug a server, because the job’s already over. The data’s been backed up onto the cloud.

Arcserve unveiled this ‘Affordable Disaster Recovery’ service as Arcserve UDP Cloud Direct.

Should your system fall over, recovery from this disaster is just as quick. Previously this sort of technology was only available to the enterprise market.

Now SMEs and local councils can recover from a disaster within five minutes, without having the expense of owning and servicing specialist hardware in their offices. It’s all done over the cloud. Cheaper and quicker, they say, and you pay in increments too. So there’s no more problems getting invoices paid by Mr Quill Scratchitt in Bought Ledger.

Sales director Richard Massey explained how it was achieved. Arcserve acquired the technology some months ago when it bought disaster recovery specialist Zetta. Since then it has worked to refine the process of back up, by editing out the complicated bits. They simplified everything by making all back ups, apart from the very first, a matter of saving the recent changes. (They used to call that journalling in the 1980s days of DEC PDP 11s).

By implication the restoration of data is the reverse process, so that Arcserve’s cloud talks to the customer’s computer and they revert to the last version by rationalising the latest set of changes.

The upshot is that enterprise backup and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is available at SME prices. In order to support this DRaaS-tic action, they have beefed up their UK infrastructure by adding a data centre in Manchester to be our local hub. Technical response times should guarantee ‘Near Zero’ levels of latency.

Now they want the same sort of responsiveness from the channel, as Arcserve anticipates massive demand for this service. It’s a ‘no painer’ and could help with a few immediate compliance problems such as GDPR.

By using a model of regular incremental back ups they have overcome the bandwidth limitations that have held back many of the local authorities, public sector bodies and SMEs.

“Few people have access to back up their business direct to the cloud,” says Massey.

The response times for customers should be fairly quick too according to Massey. A reseller or service provider only has to put a client onto a 30 day trial and, should they like it, they should be earning commission from then on. There are systems in place for deal registrations and commission calculations. Sales support staff have been trained and marketing kits in place.

Everything is ready, according to Massey.

All except one thing, I would say. They need a merchandising gimmick. Stress balls are old hat. What about a cuddly, huggable cloud? You don’t squeeze it, you rest your head on it and count the subscriptions rolling in. It’ll help you get to sleep better.

This was last published in February 2018

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