SOS Online Backup Adds Bare Metal Recovery To Cloud Backup

The new additions to SOS's cloud storage technology are only a taste of what is yet to come, said Ken Shaw, CEO of the El Segundo, Calif.-based company.

"In the Summer of 2012, we'll have the ability to boot recovered images in the cloud," Shaw said. "That's the 'Holy Grail' of this business."

SOS Online Backup, which in September closed a $3 million funding round, is one of several cloud storage providers working exclusively through channel partners.

The company provides a complete "business-in-a-box" with all the needed tools to help partners add on-line backup and recovery to their business, Shaw said.

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"We're helping partners move from break-fix to managed services, all at 50-plus-percent margins for partners," he said.

New this month is ServerSave, which combines bare metal recovery along with on-line protection for Microsoft Exchange and Windows servers and applications into a single solution.

The new bare metal recovery capability manages all SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint images, dedupes them, and backs them up to the cloud, Shaw said. If customers need to recover an application, the images can be downloaded onto any available physical server and booted, he said. "You can even boot them in the cloud sometimes," he said.

SOS has also added the ability to roll back an application to any point of time in the past, a feature that allows a business to recover the data in an application from as far back as needed. Shaw said that typical cloud storage providers are limited to recovery points stretching back only 30 days.

The additions to SOS's business-focused cloud storage offering comes on the heels of recent enhancements to its consumer-based solution.

Those enhancements, which were also applied to its business offering, include the ability to back up data from mobile devices including iPads, Shaw said. "In December, we'll add backing up of Android devices, including the Kindle Fire," he said.

One solution provider liked SOS's new ServerSave so much it has decided to change its business model to focus mainly on the cloud storage company's offerings.

One Click Technology Group, a small group of IT people helping small businesses with their Web applications, VoIP, and other IT solutions, had been working with a couple of other cloud storage offerings, said Matt Bernard, CTO of the Warren, Ohio-based solution provider.

One Click just signed up with SOS about a month ago, but that led to an epiphany in terms of how it wants to work with customers going forward, Bernard said.

"The release of ServerSave changed how our company approached this business," he said. "To say my mind was blown away was an understatement. This is a real game changer."

Cloud-based backup had been offered to customers, the largest of which has 25 employees, as an impulse buy, Bernard said. "We'd say, yeah, we sell that, too," he said. "Now we're working with a partner bringing out a product we're super-psyched about."

Before SOS introduced ServerSave, it was hard to find a good centralized bare metal recovery solution, Bernard said.

"Most solutions fail," he said. "SOS has integrated bare metal recovery and the other features into a single system. That's awesome. No more jumping to another system for SQL backups, and no more doing some magic tricks to get bare metal recovery. If ServerSave does 40 percent of what SOS promised, it will be a great solution."

Next: Differentiating The Cloud Backup Solutions

While the SOS offering is a little more expensive than some of the other technologies available to solution providers, some of SOS's capabilities are worth far more than the price differential, Bernard said.

"We can go to customers who are using other solutions and say, 'Are you getting HIPAA compliance? Are you getting military-grade encryption? Here's all that for a little more,'" he said.

Shaw said that, for an increasing part of the customer base, using public clouds for protecting data is less expensive and easier to deploy than using on-premises infrastructures.

"We can offer a solution that customers buy for $100 per server per month," he said. "The data is stored in our own cloud across eight data centers worldwide, all with military-grade encryption."