Build or Buy a BDR – Where Do You Stand?

Most MSPs know that using a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance is an easy, profitable way to roll out backup and disaster recovery solutions to clients. But when it comes to how, MSPs often wonder: Should I build my own BDR, or should I buy hardware off the shelf from one of the many vendors? There’s a fierce debate. Pre-built BDRs are preconfigured and designed for simplicity and ease of use. Building your own lets you tailor it to your specifications and client needs. But which makes the most sense? To determine which approach is best for your company, let’s break down the case for each.

The Case for Building

Most folks in the IT space love to tinker. Building and tuning hardware to your desired specs can be fun, and configuring the software that makes it all tick can be just as exciting. What better way to make sure a solution fits your clients’ unique needs? But there’s a trade-off. More customization often means more work. When it comes to the hardware you use and how much compute power and storage space you have, it’s up to you to figure it out. It’s easy to overbuild a solution that costs more than it needs to or under-build something that’s inexpensive but ineffective. Getting the balance right requires research, test configurations, and all the time and effort that goes into each. For some, it’s worth it. Others may choose to avoid the headache. The software side is similar. Ensuring each BDR can back up many devices and provide flexible recovery options is something that takes time and thorough knowledge of the solutions you’re using. It’s up to you and your techs to configure software, ensure proper integration, and find ways to maintain and monitor it. Many backup solutions are easy enough to install on a BDR device, but if you’re rolling something out to many clients and deploying agents to multiple endpoints, the complexity increases exponentially. Add offsite replication, cloud recovery, and mirroring, and it gets even tougher.Summary  If you’re willing to take on the complex task of creating your own BDR from scratch, you might enjoy more powerful hardware and flexible upgrade options. But you might not get the streamlined, integrated, turnkey simplicity you can get when you buy.Pros
  • Most customizable
  • Most flexible hardware and upgrade options
  • Costs vary by approach
  • Hardware and software configuration can be tough
  • May not integrate as well with current solutions

The Case for Buying

Buying a pre-built appliance makes selling and setting up BDRs easy. Software is already installed. Compute power is optimized for recovery capabilities. In some cases, storage is even expandable for when your backup space runs low or when clients want more endpoints protected. Savvy backup and recovery vendors will use the same powerful software in their BDR appliances that you might already have protecting user devices. Better still, some BDR appliances are designed for more than local backup and recovery. Many allow you to add powerful cloud-based recovery options that are hard to include in home-built BDRs. And perhaps best off all, some BDRs allow you to manage everything remotely from a single dashboard. Although buying a BDR can make the process simple, it can be hard to find the right solution. There are dozens of options with a range of specs, software, and capabilities. This can make vetting and standardizing on a solution a time-consuming process. Last, many MSPs might find limits to the BDR hardware vendors provide. Having everything built into a ready-to-rock appliance seems great assuming it can stand up to real recovery challenges posed by clients’ growing businesses. As you evaluate options, pay close attention to storage space and backup capabilities as well as the recovery options that make your offering truly compelling.Summary The right BDR can make backup and recovery services a breeze if you can find one that’s affordable, flexible, and built with true recovery in mind. Pros
  • Simple
  • Affordable
  • Optimized
  • Vendor selection can be tough
  • Upgrade options can be limited
ConclusionEven with top backup vendors releasing sophisticated BDR appliances into the market, the build or buy debate will continue. Whichever you choose, be sure the software backing any BDR solution gives you an easy way to provide your clients with reliable, powerful downtime protection. Also remember that using a single vendor for all your BDR needs is a great way to streamline costs, simplify vendor management, create more variability in your service offerings, and even benefit from the partner programs many backup vendors provide. Are you curious what a recovery-focused BDR appliance can do for you? Take a look at OneXafe Solo, available soon.

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