I have been using the same managed service provider (MSP) toolset for seven years and not too long ago, I took over a client from an MSP with the same toolset. During onboarding, it was discovered the former MSP admitted to a huge time gap in backups. Undeniably, this 2011 SBS Server is not perfect, it’s had performance issues, but backups and backup software that just work without hassle are essential.
Fast-forward one month into onboarding with 40-50 plus hours trying to get backup Vendor integrated into my MSP toolset to do a full backup without locking up the server and Acronis support offering nothing but log collection, they had no clear path to resolution. I was able to take Windows backups but those are not something to solely rely on. If an MSP does one thing right, it must be backups/recovery.
I tried to install another backup software and the SQL it comes with but never did get a test backup. The server was just not cooperating and a few more hours were burned. I had already notified the client his server needed replacement and we may have to think about new hardware to V2V just to have a recoverable warm backup for the Windows backups. By this point, my contract delivery for this client was not where I could sleep at night. I was panicked, this was at the start of tax season in an accounting office.
Was I really going to tell the client that we don’t have a backup I was 100% confident we could do a bare metal restore? I don’t think so! I was clearly desperate, so during a feverish late-night Google session, I clicked on a Google Ad for Cloudberry. I found a product I think subconsciously I avoided prior to then just because of the weird name. Thoughts of the Smurfs, Crunch Berry and sweet childhood treats came to mind. My clients are paying for quality and reliability; half-heartedly I filled out a simple form for a test trial with no sales pressure or nagging calls to get my trial key.
This silly software installed quickly and without incident. I scheduled a backup on my test server and it ran perfectly so I recovered the backup to a VHDx file and cracked that open to test a file recovery. My tidy little test environment had become a solid proof of concept. It was time to see how Cloudberry would do in the real world on an alleged sick 2011 SBS Server. This reminded me of a rookie hitting a home run on their first at-bat.
The download and install was again super easy on the 2011 SBS Server. But what would happen when I started a full backup? Would it even start collecting bytes? Would I encounter all the same issues? I was semi-relieved that after 4 hours, Cloudberry was still pumping data to the backup NAS. I went to bed feeling confident the server would not lock up if it hadn’t by this point. In the morning, only a few hours remained toward a successful, complete backup. Yeah so what, I thought, the rookie had a good spring training, but could Cloudberry do an incremental on a schedule that evening and keep running without babysitting? I am pleased to report to the client the backups continue to run without issue; this rookie is the real McCoy.
Why stop there, I thought. Let’s try to offsite the main file shares of about 200GB of regularly changing files. The full image level backup runs at 6pm daily and completes between 10-11pm. I created a new file-level backup for the main company shares that starts at midnight and only runs for a maximum of 8 hours daily. The repository for this backup is direct to the cloud using Microsoft Azure Blob Cold Storage. It took a couple weeks of timing out before finishing but now it runs 3-4 hours to completion.
This probably reads like a commercial but it is a true story of how Cloudberry saved this contract. We will be using Cloudberry more because of the small footprint, ease, flexibility, and most importantly, peace of mind knowing if everything else fails we always have a backup.