Erasure Coding – Key to Backup dependability

Surely, there’s nothing more important to your company than the data your users access and store every day.  For this reason alone, system admins would have evaluated and deployed a BDR solution in place, planned for the schedule of backups, configured them based on organizational RTO and RPO considerations and then spend a good amount of time monitoring the backups for alerts and notifications. So far, so good, But…

correct

How do you know for sure that the data you backup can be restored without a glitch ? 

Where is the assurance on the integrity of the backup, whether it is on-premise or in the cloud ? 

 

Cone of Constraints

Data integrity is intricately intertwined with the technical sophistication with which the BDR product implements its error detection processes and incorporates fail-proof checks for corruption and subsequent steps for correction. However, all solutions are not equal on this count of proactively identifying data corruption preventing corrupted data from being transferred during the backup process.

Lets be clear that occurrence of data loss is inevitable due to the probability of either underlying storage hardware failures hosting backups or transfer of corrupted data blocks. There are huge trade-offs associated with competing priorities – performance, fault tolerance and time-to-market. Due diligence, therefore, has to be the prerogative of the system admin in carefully picking the right BDR solution that scores masterfully on all counts and drastically reduces the possibility of any data corruption.

Data Loss Circumvention

Traditionally, storage protection encompasses two main methods of protection, namely, Replication and RAID.

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is a storage virtualization scheme for dividing and duplicating data across multiple physical drives. There are a number of schemes ranging from RAID 0 to RAID 6. Raid 1 for instance provides data redundancy on a mirrored set of disks and RAID 6 incorporates double distributed parity to ensure no data loss for upto two failed drives.

Backup software vendors opt for replication, as a “backup for backups”, where one or more copies of the primary backup bundle is transferred and stored either locally or offsite for high availability and disaster recovery.

Enter Erasure Coding

A better alternative to Replication, in terms of costs, was made possible by the advent of a specific technology – Erasure Coding. It is similar to RAID technology, which generally adds parity as overhead. The difference being, while RAID works on the hardware level, erasure coding applies it to an object level. Basically, erasure code provides redundancy devoid of the overhead of replication. It divides any data stream (data blocks, file chunks) into “X” fragments and recode them into “X+Y” fragments. The key property of erasure codes is that the original object can be reconstructed from ANY of the X fragments. Hence integrity checks based on erasure coding tend to be more robust.

Vembu BDR v6.1 – Coming soon

Our patent pending VembuHIVE technology which is the foundation of the Vembu BDR v6.1 platform, possess inbuilt integrity checks using sophisticated erasure coding techniques that could detect and correct multiple errors at several breakpoints of failure- backup file level, disk image-level, chunk- level, backup-level, repository-level and client -level. This way, you can be assured that the quality of our backups have met and surpassed stringent expectations of data integrity and durability.

There are many exciting new developments with our upcoming version 6.1. Just go ahead and download the recent whitepaper to learn more about some of them.

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BDR Cloud Services – Resell OR Build? Pros and Cons

Resellers vs MSPs

Resellers vs MSPs

We are witnessing a mass migration of IT service providers (ITSPs) from the traditional reseller model to a managed service model, with the goal of attaining a predictable monthly recurring revenues. This is especially true in the backup and disaster recovery area, the most commonly offered SMB service after email

There are two ways that IT service providers can make this migration:

1 – THE RESELLER MODEL

Resell a cloud-based vendor’s offering (example – Datto, Axcient), and develop value-added services such as vendor selection, training, implementation and level-1 support on top of such offerings

2 – THE BUILD (MANAGED SERVICE) MODEL

Layer a cloud-based technology, like Vembu, on top of your own cloud infrastructure (co-lo data center or public cloud like MS Azure or Amazon AWS) and offer a true “managed service”

There are pros and cons to both approaches, but in the long run, we feel that ITSPs will be able to build a more sticky and higher margin revenue model by adopting the Build Model.  Here are 3 factors to consider:

MARGINS

In the reseller model, the ITSPs’ revenues are derived primarily from reseller commissions on the vendor product and secondarily from add-on services.  On the other hand, in the ownership model, ITSP revenues are derived primarily from sale of the cloud service (storage fees) and secondarily from vendor commissions.  In the case of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) offerings, in our experience, MSPs make 3-4x the vendor commissions in margins from the sale of cloud storage.

SETUP COST/TIME

Next, lets look at the setup time/cost.  Sure, reselling an out-of-the-box cloud offering like, say Datto, requires no initial setup time or investment. However, setting up your own cloud infrastructure is getting easier by the day.  Vendors like Amazon and Microsoft have made it extremely easy to setup private cloud offerings and offer pay-as-you-use models that don’t require upfront investments.  Combine that with ever dropping costs in a highly competitive market – Amazon recently announced to drop its cloud prices by another 22% (http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/21/amazon-drops-s3-prices-by-up-to-22-ebs-by-up-to-50-launches-new-ec2-instance-types/) – why, you could be up and running with your own high-margin cloud infrastructure in less than 24 hours.

SUSTAINABILITY

Finally, the most important aspect of the Build model is “stickiness” of your service. On the one hand, the increasing maturity of cloud technology vendors’ delivery models, combined with the increasing application-awareness of the SMB user, is rapidly diminishing the need for add-on services like training and implementation. For example, most SMBs can be up and running with a service like Dropbox or Office365 in a few minutes with no help.  BDR appliances are approaching this level of maturity.  By offering your own managed service, and taking control of your customers’ data, you create a highly “sticky” customer relationship that will allow you to not only prevent customer attrition but also upsell other value-added services easily.

In summary, we feel that a tipping point has been reached, where offering cloud-based BDR services is the way to go for IT service providers looking to develop a solid and sustainable recurring revenue service.

I would like to conclude my blog with an ancient anonymous quote – “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

At Vembu we are more interested in teaching the channel on how to own / manage their branded cloud solution. For more details, feel free to contact me at len AT Vembu DOT com

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Vembu Exchange Server BDR – An Indispensable Software Solution

exchange server blog image 1

Today most mid sized businesses and enterprises use Microsoft Exchange as their mail server and it’s critical to have a robust backup and disaster recovery software to ensure uninterrupted mail service and business continuity even when a disaster occurs. Vembu Exchange Server BDR delivers high performance protection for your exchange infrastructure with flexible granular mailbox, mail and individual item recovery.

Benefits you get with Vembu Exchange Server BDR

Live Backup of Databases

Vembu Exchange server backup provides an easy, secure, fast and reliable way to backup the MS Exchange Server databases to your account. This application can backup/restore the MS Exchange Server databases without interrupting or stopping the running MS Exchange Server services. Enjoy more productivity with uninterrupted business stability for your Exchange environments.

Easy Backup and Quick Restore

Backing up and restoring the components of a Microsoft Exchange Server is usually a daunting task. Change that with Vembu Exchange server backup that contains storage groups, logs, mailboxes, public folders, mails, and other components that structure the data. Ensure always a secure live Microsoft Exchange mailbox server backup that can be quickly restored with Vembu.

Granular Restore and Flexible storage capabilities

Vembu’s Granular Recovery for Exchange has an intuitive user interface that allows you to search your Exchange database quickly and easily, without the need for additional resources or complicated recovery solutions. Restore just the mailboxes and emails directly from your EDB backup or download the PST file locally to open emails in your Outlook.

mailserver backup and restore

Using granular restore, export specific email messages, appointments, tasks, and other message items as .PST files and restore it anywhere including mapped drive, NAS, external hard disk and USB. You can also select an alternative temporary database location when hard drive space is limited during a backup or restore and experience flexibility in storage space options.

Brick Level Mailbox Backup

Increase speed and improve performance with ‘Exchange Brick-Level Mailbox Backup’. It allows you to backup individual mailboxes on the MS Exchange Store to your Vembu account. The application backs up the contents of the selected mailboxes to a Personal Folder (.PST) file. It is designed to backup/restore individual mailboxes for selected mailbox stores.

Vembu’s BDR Solution for Microsoft Exchange creates snapshots of your entire application with the datastore to deliver efficient backups and brick level recovery of information stores, specific user mailboxes, email messages and shared folders from point-in-time exchange backups – all at an affordable price. Experience high performance protection for your exchange infrastructure with flexible granular mailbox and individual item recovery using Vembu Exchange server Backup.

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Fall in love with Vembu BDR 6.1

Its that time of the year again! Valentine’s Day is round the corner and it is a great day to appreciate and celebrate the love around us. We, at Vembu, want to take this opportunity to thank each one of our partners and customers for your continued support.

Fall in love with Vembu BDR 6.1

As many of you know, Vembu BDR 6.1 is coming soon.  We have been flooded with questions on the what, the how and the when.  As a quick summary, with Vembu BDR 6.1, you will be able to:

1. Slash your storage costs by 50% or more

2. Instantly boot, mount, restore any incremental

3. Consolidate on one data protection platform

4. Replicate backups to your Cloud, or Ours

Would you like to know more about the version 6.1? Go ahead and download the whitepaper to learn more in detail. You might just fall in love with what you see.

Download Vembu BDR 6.1 Whitepaper

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Hitting the road with CWUG Meet

2013 was an incredible year for us with the release of the powerful Vembu v6.0 and our third consecutive year of 30%+ growth. As we get ready to kick off 2014, we hit the road with the ConnectWise User Group Meet @ Tampa on 9 Jan, 2014.

v6.0 introduced the following enhancements for File Backups:

  • Advanced global deduplication that reduces storage on full and incremental backups by ~50%

  • SGFS file system for lower storage consumption and faster recoveries

  • 10X faster backups and

  • Even more tighter integration with ConnectWise Continue reading

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The New Trend of Marketing Integration

Social Talk – The Model of Communication

A profit business organization relies on a strong marketing team to sustain and remain in business today with the competition they experience from social media marketers. A Wikipedia article on Millennials differentiating the social and behavioural patterns categorized generations as the Gen-X [Early 60s’ to early 80s’], Gen-Y [Early 80s to 2000] and “Generation Flux”, those between Gen-X and Gen-Y. However, the study revealed a pattern of change with the common being societal changes that frequently use social media, smartphones, mobile computing and other technologies among Gen-Y. Another study by Gabriela Taylor revealed that although Gen-X are connected on social media they prefer a face-to-face kind of relationship whereas Gen-Y oppose face-to-face relationship.

Every medium of marketing has it’s own pros and cons. However, a combination wherein the Gen-X start the initial face-to-face marketing efforts with the Gen-Y following the customer on social media channel can establish the social identity and trust to sustain the business relationship. The benefit of this marketing cannot be ignored given that an ideal  small and medium business [SMB] provider integrates their own means of identifying the ideal product or service for the benefit of business.

Social Media Statistics

Blogging for Dustn.tv, Dustin writes about his findings on the active Social Media users as of September 2013 tabulated below:

Social Media

Age at 2013

Daily Active Users[1]

Monthly Active Users

LinkedIn

10

259 Million

259 Million

Facebook

9

727 Million

1.19 Billion

Twitter

7

500 million

232 Million

                                                                                    [1] Source: Social Media Corporate Website

“The Speed of Trust” applies very much to the modern day irrespective of how well the social media market might have a presence in the marketing channel. This is where the Gen-X creates the first trust for the organization with the lead through face-to-face marketing while Gen-Y continue to engage their customer through social media.

Integrating Social Media in a structured manner into the business

Marketing teams in small and medium businesses, therefore, need one unified tool to take their marketing ideas to both Gen-X and Gen-Y segments. Given that today Social Media is something that every business has to adopt, the SMB need to consider the advantages of social media marketing as a viable approach to break even in their investment.

Vembu CRM provides exactly that platform to adopt. It provides a low-risk, high performing solution platform for sales, marketing and customer service having specific features:

  • Works on a unified platform

  • Integration with social media

  • Control over opportunities based on various demographics

  • Relatively user-friendly

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File Sharing: 7 Must-Have Security Features for Business

Recently, I have been into some conversation with the IT community through various social networks and forums to understand the key requirements when it comes to a file sharing solution. They all shouted the word ‘SECURITY’ as their most important concern while evaluating a file sharing service. So here I am writing a post focusing on the security aspects to be considered while choosing a file sharing service for your organization.

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#1 Centralized Administration

First off in the list is the administrative capabilities required for the IT to get complete control and visibility over your environment and the ability to manage users, data, access control and storage quotas. So you can get your IT back

#2 Data Encryption

Organizations deal with sensitive corporate information which needs to be protected and secured, so you need to make sure the files are encrypted both at-rest and in-flight using industry-standard encryption techniques.

#3 Audit Reports

In order to gain more control over the system and beef up security, there should be a way for the IT to track, monitor and audit all the user account actions, user and file activities so you can quickly react to any security threats.

#4 Remote Data Wipe

IT admins and device owners should have the ability to instantly unlink the client device from the respective user account or initiate date wipe to erase all the saved files in the event of loss or theft to ensure data security and prevent unauthorized access to data.

#5 Active Directory Integration

In the majority of medium and large businesses, user information will be stored securely in the Active Directory server so integrating your existing AD with the file sharing service adds to the interoperability and security benefits. It also helps you to accelerate user adoption by quickly authenticating and authorizing the users.

#6 Role-Based Access Controls

In an hierarchical workspace, you will need to manage user permissions by assigning the right access controls (read/write/delete) based on the user privileges while collaborating within the organization, departments or teams to ensure data security and also to streamline your business workforce.

#7 Compliance and Regulations

Last but the least, you need to check whether the file sharing service meets the required security compliance and privacy regulations. Some of the mandate compliance includes HIPAA, SAS 70, ISO 27001, PCI DSS and other certificates specific to your region and industry.

What’s important to you when looking for a file sharing service? Share your opinion by leaving a comment.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

         

 

By Sajesh Krishnadas, Product Management & Marketing at Vembu Technologies. Vembu File Sharing is a simple, secure and powerful file sharing and collaboration solution designed for businesses with simple and easy-to-use interface for users and the right level of control, visibility and security for the IT.

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New release: Vembu 6.0 for MSPs

From the response we have been getting about our much awaited release, Vembu 6.1, it is quite evident that the industry is keenly looking forward to it.

We are excited to announce that we have released Vembu 6.0, the precursor to the revolutionary Vembu 6.1.

We are introducing a number of disrupting features in Vembu 6 like advanced global deduplication, instantaneous point in time restores and most importantly SGFS, a revolutionary design change in the way data is handled. The best part of this is that restore can be done by simply mounting it as a virtual drive.

Most features of v6.0 have already been covered in one of our previous post.

Vembu’s own file system

Making use of own file system for backup data provides high performance and scalability through less of number of write operations on the disk. This is followed even in seed backup migration where large backup files are converted into SGFS in server side.

Thanks to the demand by our partners for a sneak peak into Vembu 6.1, we decided to release Vembu 6.0 with minimal features. Vembu 6.0 is meant to serve as the predecessor to the powerful Vembu 6.1. You can setup Vembu 6.0 as a fresh install and start backing up new clients.

What’s available in Vembu 6.0

Repository management
Deduplication
Enhanced performance
300% WAN acceleration
Encryption at rest
Tighter and integration with Connectwise and LabTech

What you can expect in Vembu 6.1

Global deduplication
Deduplication for VMware and disk images.
Repository storage scaling for VMware and disk images.
Point in time restores
Encryption in transit
Retention cleanup
Clustering and replication

Brandable builds will be out next week.

Please note that you cannot import existing clients in Vembu 6.0. The upgrade for Vembu 6.1 from v4.4 will be available in 2014 Q1 after Vembu 6.1 is released so that you can seamlessly import your clients.

Watch our previous webinar to learn more about Vembu 6.1.

Download Vembu 6.0 here to evaluate for free. Alternatively, you could drop a mail to presales@vembu.com and we will help you out with the setup.

To know more about Vembu 6.0, contact support or leave a comment below.

As always, we are all ears for feedback.

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Impact of [Cloud] – Hype or Reality

Cloud is one of the most hyped up term in recent times and we hear them incessantly around the technology and business world. Indeed, Cloud is not just another IT fad passing through the night as it is all around us that is defining a new economic and service paradigm. Now, the real question about the digital cloud is whether it is still being hyped up or do we witness the way through its acceptance as a mainstream technology.

Online File Sharing, Vembu Cloud, Cloud File Sync, Cloud File Sharing, On-Premise File Sharing, Dropbox Alternative, Dropbox for Business, Team Collaboration, Cloud Adoption

Considering the lifecycle of a new technology which streams through various phases: initial breakthrough, height of hype, waning of interest, slope of business benefits and mainstream adoption in a broader market. Cloud Computing has trekked through these phases and stays amidst the plateau of productivity as we’re witnessing a fundamental shift in the overall adoption of cloud among varied communities – developers, CIOs, CFOs and businesses.

Developers are likely to adopt cloud because of its flexibility and speed; it allows them to build application faster and deploy quickly on a readily available platform which can be easily scaled up on demand. Fundamentally, it improves productivity, gain efficiencies and increased collaboration.

Business units claim that cloud can be used readily out of the box which requires no maintenance; they no longer have to worry about upgrading data centers and servers and it also provides built-in scalability, redundancy and resiliency.

The finance side of business saves a lot with cloud as they can avoid unnecessary capital expenditure, overhead charges (such as data storage cost, management cost, software updates), headcount and budget. Furthermore, organizations can take advantage of the cloud business model which is affordable and flexible as well as reduce fixed IT costs.

The IT on the other hand who used to get nightmares about the security in the cloud has already started showing interest towards its adoption. In the face of the cloud, the IT needs to reinvent itself to become the enablers of new technologies as these changes are inevitable.

Impact of Cloud On The File Sharing Market

Looking into the cosmos of business file sharing services, the adoption of cloud is rising at an astounding rate because of its benefits like increased agility, improved flexibility and reduced capital spending. However, the traditional on-premise file sharing services will always be part of the foreseeable future though the impact of cloud services is supposed to displace a certain proposition in the market.

Indeed, it is the same reason why we at Vembu align ourselves to your organizational needs to offer both the on-premise and cloud-based file sharing option to help you improve overall business productivity. Business owners and IT administrators need to carefully analyze the business requirements to create a holistic strategy to choose the best deployment option that will suit your business model. What is your preference – Cloud or On-Premise and Why? Let us know your comments below.

If You Haven’t Considered [Vembu File Sharing], You’re Way Behind.

By Sajesh Krishnadas, Product Management & Marketing at Vembu Technologies. Vembu File Sharing is a simple, secure and powerful file sharing and collaboration solution designed for businesses with simple and easy-to-use interface for users and the right level of control, visibility and security for the IT.

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Announcing the release of Vembu v6.0

We are extremely pleased to announce that Vembu v6.0 has been released and it can be downloaded here.

With Version 6.0, Vembu has taken a crucial step forward in providing a unified sophisticated platform for backup & disaster recovery. Today’s business demands have expanded the dimensions of the backup landscape into supporting heterogeneous physical and virtual environments coupled with reliable business continuity leveraging both traditional & virtualization based DR options. The Vembu 6.0 has been designed to specifically enable those MSPs who’re taking the leap to the cloud. Additionally, the solution is powerful and flexible to universally accommodate the burgeoning and varied needs across MSPs and VARs serving both Large enterprises and SMBs.

Certain highlights of Vembu v6.0 are as follows:

  • 10x times Faster Backups
  • Data De-Duplication
  • VMware & Windows Disk Backup in Native format
  • Flexible Storage Management
  • Multi-Hypervisor Support

10x times Faster Backups

When compared to previous versions, in 6.0 you’ll experience 10x faster backups for large files and 5x faster backups for small files. The performance enhancements is applicable for both Windows and Linux environments.

Data DeDuplication

In v6.0, we support variable block-level deduplication for file backups to deliver better storage efficiency.

VMware & Windows Disk Backup in Native format

Unlike common backup and recovery solutions where the backup file is saved in the proprietary form, Vembu backs up and restores data in native format (VMDK for vSphere and VHD for Windows Physical Servers), providing easy instant restores and consequently reducing RTO and RPO.

Flexible Storage Management

The new Storage Repository Manager allows dynamic capacity growth and enables seamless expansion of backup storage across different storage technologies such as Storage Area Network (SAN), Direct Attached Storage (DAS) or Network Attached Storage (NAS).

For example, when deploying v6.0 you can start with a 1TB storage volume and grow that capacity to 2TB or 4TB as required.

Multi-Hypervisor Support

Vembu v6.0 protects VMs across VMware, Microsoft Hyper- V and Citrix Xenserver. You can choose to backup multiple hypervisors from the same console and cut on costs and time dramatically.

New and Existing Partners

This being a precursor to the major 6.1 release, we plan to support migration from 4.4.x release only in 6.1. For better performance and scalability, from 6.x onwards only 64-bit environments are supported for backup server (Windows & Linux). For new deployments, download Vembu v6.0. Try it out free for 30 days and let us know of your enthralling experience with this product.

Keep an Eye on us!!! Packed with many features, it will not be fair to v6.0, if all of them are jammed in this blog. More to come very soon. Watch out for Vembu v6.0 features – Part two.

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