Lightning Strikes Twice!

Imagine if…

A powerful lightning strike zapped your data center.
A second lightning strike zapped you again almost exactly a year later, in the same place!
Both times you were able to quickly recover with ready-to-go failover VMs.

Mother Nature doesn’t care about your business.
That’s how Jim Ray, President of Cary NC–based MSP Neuse Networks, sees it.

Ray has advice to anyone who thinks they can’t be affected by a lightning strike because they’ve got electrical protection in place: Don’t count on it. “We made sure Custom Assemblies was protected with top-of-the-line surge suppression, chassis infrastructure that was totally to spec, and grounding to building steel,” he declares. “Both lightning strikes still took out their servers.”

And without those servers, Custom Assemblies’ business could have come to a standstill. Like most businesses, Custom depends on its IT infrastructure to process orders, send invoices, pay its employees, and more. Even the companies’ remote regional salespeople could have been affected, since they access the servers remotely to manage their accounts.

We never imagined that lightning would take out our servers twice. Fortunately, Datto prevented those outages from hurting our business both times.
–Kathy Jackl
Custom Assemblies

Plus, when you’re a manufacturing subcontractor, your clientele needs to know they can depend on you at all times. Any outage thus not only affects your revenue in the short term. It can also affect your business relationships in the long term.

So Custom had to get its applications back up and running again—fast.

Why Datto’s hybrid VM failover model is awesome

Ray’s relationship with Custom goes back more than a decade. In fact, there was a time long ago when he would personally burn Custom’s data onto CDs for off-site backup. Eventually, he graduated them to tape. But even that eventually proved inadequate.

“Anyone still using tape has to hope that someone remembers to take your physical media off-site,” he notes. “And if and when you are hit with an outage, tape forces you to go through the whole process of getting a server running again, bringing the tape to the server, and loading up your data again.”

With Datto, Ray explains, all of that work is eliminated—and time-to-restore is significantly reduced. Datto’s SIRIS solution automatically generates fully functional failover VMs and data backups both locally and in the cloud for targeted servers. So if a server goes down, a business can start running its applications right away—even if its on-site data center is completely incapacitated.

In Custom’s case, though, the local Datto device worked fine after both lightning strikes even though its main servers were disabled. So the company was able to get back up and running in minutes.

“Our Datto system was a lifesaver,” says Kathy Jackl, Operations Manager at Custom Assemblies. “If Jim Ray and Neuse Networks had not had the foresight to insist that we implement a true disaster recovery solution—rather than mere data backup—the adverse financial impact of those two lightning strikes could have been significant.”

Datto as an MSP partner

Ray is not just a fan of what Datto’s technology does for his customers. He also appreciates how well Datto and its solutions support his business needs as an MSP. In particular, Ray cites:

  • Smart pricing for his target market. As a regional MSP, Neuse typically engages with companies that are large enough to have significant IT needs—but not so large that they have their own complete IT staffs. Datto solutions are priced competitively for this market. Also, with time-based retention pricing, Ray doesn’t have to worry about high monthly data volume charges that will alienate customers with limited IT budgets.
  • Easy ongoing management. Ray maintains high-touch/high-trust relationships with his customers. So he has to be sure at all times that their server images and data are being properly backed up—and that they are ready for rapid recovery if a disaster should strike. Datto makes thus easy to do with its daily email screen-shot validations.
  • Great tech support. While Ray praises the reliability and ease-of-implementation Datto’s solutions provide, he also points out that MSPs sometimes encounter new and unexpected challenges as they navigate the complexities and diversity of SMB IT. And he says that in all cases, Datto’s technical support has been extremely responsive and helpful.

“Any MSP claiming to truly look out for the interests of its customers in today’s application-dependent world has to deliver fast, reliable business continuity solutions,” asserts Ray. “For us, the best source of those solutions is clearly Datto.”

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