The way we interact with our information technology is changing.
As computers become more fundamentally a part of our culture, our businesses, and our lives, the way we work with them has subtlely shifted. In the old days, hardware and software were products, discreet elements that we could manage and service on an individual basis.
Today, these individual products have slowly begun morphing into services. The most obvious example of this is the “as-a-Service” (aaS) trend.
The development of the cloud, along with advances in virtualization and other technologies, has made it possible for software companies to offer their products as a service for a monthly fee. The most basic examples of this model are services like Google Docs or Mint.com, which take traditional word processing or bookkeeping programs and make them available all the time via the Internet and a subscription.
The aaS model is rapidly changing the IT space and businesses, both developer and end user, are changing their infrastructure to make use of it.
A similar, related shift has been happening in the IT services industry.
As systems become more intricate and integeral to the well-being of a business, more and more business owners are switching over to the managed service model.
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According to Kevin Price, the CEO of IT business AccuCode,
The aaS model is much more than just a change in how software is paid for. It’s about taking the real total cost of ownership and converting that to a predictable expense, with a highly predictable outcome. It’s about delivering products that evolve and add continual value, versus projects that miss their mark and never meet the needs they were intended to address.
This predictability is exactly what fuels the shift to managed services. Both the service provider and the customer can measure the value they’re getting from the relationship and the costs and expenses are totally predictable.
Of course, not everyone is comfortable with the managed service model yet, but time and experience create converts almost every day.
Unfortunately, when the managed service is backup and disaster recovery, time and experience can be painful.
Tony Capalino is a network engineer for CSC, an IT services business in Ohio.
Tony takes care of more than 20 of CSC’s clients, delivering both onsite and offsite management of their IT environments. One of Tony’s clients is the West Jefferson School District.
The school district has 25+ servers spread across five sites, including domain controllers, file servers, data servers, Exchange servers, an application server, and more.
According to Tony, when West Jefferson School District first signed up with CSC,
We were more or less called in to fix bigger, global issues. We were less involved with them than with some clients, mainly because they had their own internal IT department for the day to day things.
As a result, CSC started with just the basics:
We implented disaster recovery on their 11 critical servers across the five different sites. We started by running basic StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® images to our CSC Disaster Recovery appliance running StorageCraft® ImageManager.
Despite these efforts, West Jefferson School District was in for some trouble. Shortly after Tony installed ShadowProtect, the school district’s main domain controller went down. Suddenly, employees couldn’t log in, access their data, or use apps. As Tony put it,
They were pretty much down and experienced pain with their day-to-day operations.
Unfortunately for the school district, they didn’t understand what they had yet in CSC or in ShadowProtect.
Like I said, we were less involved with this account than usual, so they took it on themselves to get it fixed. They went back to where they’d bought the server and I think they worked for two or three days to get the data off the RAID before they called us.
We said, “Hey, you’ve got ShadowProtect,” and after that, it was only a couple of hours and some basic instructions and they were back up and running.
This success did not go unappreciated:
They were saying things like “Holy cow, this is awesome!”
The school district got the message.
After that, they had another server failure and using some documentation I’d provided, they were able to use ShadowProtect to get the server restored within an hour.
And now, they’ve definitely come to trust us more and they reach out to us for a lot of things. We’re getting into the recurring monthly monitoring on the backups now so we can know what’s going on and not have to use those backup images.
Tony is not shy about the necessity of CSC’s services, especially in conjunction with StorageCraft ShadowProtect.
They were just amazed with ShadowProtect, and that builds trust with us and helps us when we try to sell new technology. They know they can trust us.
I’m to the point now that if somebody doesn’t have it, I say “You need this. You have to have this.” ShadowProtect just saves us and our clients so much time.
In the end, everyone was glad the school district’s servers were protected by ShadowProtect. Even though the West Jefferson School District tried to solve the problem themselves, Tony knows things could have been much worse.
If they would have continued on that route and not had ShadowProtect, there would have been a lot of backend stuff, like rebuilding the server and getting the domain controller connected and synching. We would have been working for probably been 30+ hours to get things back to 100 percent.
But the contrast is clear.
It went down on a Thursday and they contacted me on a Monday. Of course, we had the images, so once they contacted us, we had everything recovered within a couple of hours.
We definitely saved them at least 30 hours of downtime.
Changing from the old break/fix model to a managed service can be tough, especially when it comes to backup and disaster recovery.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll deal with the problem when it comes, but these days, that problem can be catastrophic (not to mention extremely expensive).
Experiences like those of the West Jefferson School District show that in this day and age, being proactive about your IT and signing up for services that offer predictable costs and predictable results is the smarter choice.
CSC is in the business of helping their clients exceed their organizational goals by making wise and customized IT decisions in the most economical way.
They have been delivering results and value since 1992.
CSC provides client focused CIO/CTO guidance and proactive IT services to their clients. Their keenness for both business and IT strategy will help deliver your desired organizational results.
Their experience with virtual IT management will allow you to focus on managing your priorities and serving your customers. They practice what they preach and live who they are everyday. CSC is more than a group of talented IT experts you can rely on. They are your full service chief technology office.