Software update on February 2nd

Dear partners, Ahsay Customization Portal will be unavailable on Monday Feb 2nd from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM Hong Kong time to prepare for a software update. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

We don’t believe “Managed Service Providers are dead”

blog_msp_deadAs a backup vendor, the catchy title “Backlash over backup vendor’s ‘MSPs are dead’ move” from a recent news article of CRN Australia earned a click-through from us.

The article stemmed from an incident that a backup vendor for MSPs decided not to allow MSPs to host customer backups on-site. Instead, the data can only be hosted on the vendor’s cloud servers. The vendor also published a whitepaper explaining their views on why Managed Service Providers are dead.

At Ahsay, our believe is exactly the opposite. We don’t believe MSPs are dead, or dying. On the contrary, we believe that the new cloud era is another golden opportunity for MSPs to capture the managed backup market, in a new way. That’s why we are still working hard on developing our version 7, which on one hand will provide more storage flexibility for MSPs by leveraging on the latest cloud technology, and on the hand still allows MSPs to keep their current on-site backup offerings unchanged.

Our version 7 is around the corner. A newly developed Alpha version will be available very soon. Stay tuned by subscribing to at least one of our social channels.

Questions from a Managed Service Provider

Here are some questions received recently from a managed service provider who are looking for a new backup software to replace his existing one. The new software has to be designed for managed service providers (MSPs), and he would like to see if Ahsay can meet these requirements:

  • I want to buy backup software only
  • I want to host the software on our servers
  • I want the backup software to be customizable
  • I want the user interface to have Spanish or Catalan support

1. Ahsay only sells backup software. No other service (such as managed storage) or hardware will be bundled with the software that we are selling.

2. Our backup server and replication software will be hosted by managed service provider. The client backup agent will be installed on your customers’ machines that need to be backed up. Here’s an overview. Our software has 4 core components. AhsayOBS is the centralized management console that needs to be installed on your backup server for hosting all the backup accounts and data. AhsayOBM and AhsayACB are the backup applications (agents) that need to be installed on the server, desktop and laptop machines that need to be backed up. AhsayOBM / AhsayACB then backs up data to the AhsayOBS through http/https protocol. AhsayRPS is the replication application for near real time replication of data from AhsayOBS to an offsite replication server for added protection. Please refer to the “Products” section on our website for the details of each application.

3. Ahsay Backup Software is fully customizable if you have purchased a one-time Rebranding Option. Then, all the graphics and wordings that appear within  AhsayOBM/AhsayACB/AhsayOBS/AhsayRPS can be customized through our easy-to-use Customization Portal.

4. Our software now supports 32 languages, including Spanish and Catalan, which covers over 90% of worldwide population.

What hardware AhsayOBS should be installed on

For those who are new to our solution, you may be wondering what hardware Ahsay Offsite Backup Server (AhsayOBS) should be installed on. Actually, the hardware specification is published in the Best Practice section of the AhsayOBS Administrator Guide that can be found here.

According to the guide, it said AhsayOBS (version 6) should be installed on a machine supporting 64 bit multiple CPU and multiple cores. A 64 bit Operating System will allow AhsayOBS to run on a 64 bit Java JRE platform, as 64 bit Java is capable of supporting larger Java heap size settings. This type of configuration will provide sufficient capacity for future business expansion, to meet the needs of exisiting customers, and to support new AhsayOBS server features.

A more powerful machine will also reduce the need for frequent hardware upgrades, which will require service down time for data migration. It is a good idea to ensure your AhsayOBS server is equipped with some redundancy features, i.e power supply, network card, and is connect it to a UPS (Uninterupterable Power Supply).

Reactive or Proactive, which are you?

blog_proactive-reactiveI’m fortunate to spend a great deal of time talking to Ahsay businesses all over the globe and one reoccurring challenge no matter the country that stands out is the question “how do we stand out from the competition?” My answer to this question is in fact another question, that being – what type of support model would you classify yourselves as having? Would you consider yourselves as reactive or proactive? Do you wait until the customer has an error or a backupjob fails before contacting the customer and solving the issue or do you actively monitor customer accounts looking for signs of potential problems and contact the customer before errors occur?

With a multitude of free options available for customers these days, ensuring that potential and existing clients understand your support model is not only key to both future sales and retention but also your point of difference from the competition. One justification I often hear for the reactive approach is that they are too busy or do not have enough resources to be proactive with their monitoring. While this certainly is understandable, I encourage everyone to take time to step back and assess your support workflow. Being proactive with your customers not only demonstrates your technical capabilities of solving issues before they happen but also reinforces the relationship between your businesses. It’s all too common for companies to ‘set and forget’ backupsets and to only contact the customer when problems occur. The impact of this is on the customers’ perception which is that you only contact them when your backup software is broken or there is a billing problem.

Whether it be contacting your customers to ensure their backup client is up to date or double checking that there haven’t been any changes to their folder backup locations, this proactive approach only improves the provider/client relationship. This improved provider/client interaction can even open the door for further business opportunities. This is where Ahsay addons excel, by providing you with that extra functionality and giving you the tools to have that proactive approach.

These addons allow you to have that in-depth detail of your backupsets, errors and even historical summaries. The combination of these coupled with good reporting allows you to structure your support processes away from the reactive approach to the proactive model. This also allows you to free up resources for further business improvements or opportunities. In summary, spending time to critically look at your systems and processes is invaluable in any business, especially our channel where competition is high. I strongly encourage all Ahsay partners to try out the available addons and see what they can do to improve your business, reduce your resources needed and improve your support approach.

POODLE vulnerability: Final reminder

As we communicated earlier on October 31, 2014, you will need to upgrade your Ahsay Backup Software to Version 6.21.2.0 or above to address the POODLE vulnerability, and likewise, we will upgrade our Ahsay License Server to address this issue.  Details can be found by clicking here.

Since some of our partners need more time for their upgrade, we have decided to postpone our Ahsay License Server upgrade to March 4, 2015.  So we urge partners who has not upgraded yet to do so in due course. Special Callout to Partners using Meter, Lease, or License Management Portal (LMP).

For our Partners using Meter, Lease, or License Management Portal, your software will be functional only if it is at Version 6.21.2.0 or above so it can connect to our Ahsay License Server.  So it is imperative for you to upgrade before the deadline on March 4, 2105 not only to address the POODLE vulnerability, but also to ensure a seamless backup service.

If you have any question regarding the upgrade, please send us a ticket at this link: http://ahsay.com/jsp/en/contact/kbQuestion.jsp