Standing out from your competition, how does your branding look?

We all understand the importance of brand recognition and the role that it plays on potential and existing customers. Having an effective, consistent branding scheme across your backup components is a great way to compliment your existing brand strategy.

One of the advantages of Ahsay is the ability for white labeling, allowing you to fully customize your brand appearance to your customers.

Ahsay customer facing brand components:

  • Email (Backup reports)
  • Customer web portal
  • Backup agent software including in-client advertising (Ad groups)

If you haven’t considered branding the customer facing aspects of Ahsay or haven’t investigated this action, the following examples show-off what you can do.

Standard email vs Customized email

Standard:
Email Standard

Customized:
Email Customised

Standard customer portal vs Customized customer Portal

Standard:
obs

Customized:
Customised Portal

The customized images are real world examples from MyClient partners who have utilized MyClient customer facing customization options to give their branding this enhanced look. Customizations are also available via the Ahsay customization portal. The above examples hopefully illustrate some of the ways that you promote your brand but also give that polished professional look to your clients.

Ahsay Mobile Backup App for iPhone and Android

After the release of our v7, many partners asked if we have any plan on releasing a mobile backup app. To be frank, it is in our plan and we are working hard to put out a beta version in a couple of months. Since you asked, let me show you a mock-up of it:

Ahsay Mobile Backup App for iPhone and Android

This app will be available for both iOS and Android. It allows users to backup data to cloud storage and AhsayOBS. Same as AhsayOBM and AhsayACB, the available backup destinations can be controlled through Group Policy Management in the new AhsayCBS. Because of the iOS limitations, not all features you see above are available for iOS version.

So, give us some time and we’ll put out a beta for you very soon. In the meantime, follow at least one of our social channels so that you won’t miss our progress.

For v7, if users have the option of backing up to big data companies, how am I going to sell my backup space?

We recently received many inquiries from MSPs similar to this one.

Don’t worry. With the new Group Policy Management feature in v7, you are allowed enable or disable the use of user’s own cloud storage on the client (AhsayOBM / AhsayACB) side. If you don’t prefer to let customers back up to their own cloud storage, simply disable the option, so that there won’t be any cloud storage option available in the AhsayOBM / AhsayACB user interface.

Besides, on the backup server (AhsayOBS) side, you can still use your cloud storage accounts (e.g. Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage) as the storage options for your customers to choose. By giving these options customized names and icons, your customer won’t know where the true destinations are.

If you have any other questions related to our v7, please feel free to post them under this thread of our forum.

v7 Alpha version is out now!

Dear partners, our new v7 Alpha is available for trial now. This new version brings cloud storage support, real time system monitoring, enhanced group policy management, faster and better replication, integrated billing, and mobile friendly user interface to managed service providers. For details and download, click here.

Setup AhsayOBS v6 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Part 2

Amazon has set up a wide range of web services. We will be using EC2 in this tutorial. First we need to provision resources and start up a virtual machine.

1. First log into AWS Management Console and choose EC2.

AWS Services2. The overview page shows AWS EC2 resources. There are no running instances. Now we click on “Launch Instance” to set up an instance.

AWS EC2 Console3. Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Ahsay Backup Software supports Red Hat Linux and Windows Server.

AWS EC2 Choose AMI4. Choose the instance type. Instance type is a selection of virtual CPU, memory, storage and network performance. We choose the smallest type for testing purpose. Click “Next: Configure Instance Details”.

AWS EC2 Instance Type5. Follow on-screen instructions to input instance details. Default settings should be fine. Click “Next: Add Storage”

AWS Instance Details6. Add storage to the instance. Default storage size is 10GB. You can add more if needed. Confirm the storage setting.

AWS EC2 Add Storage7. Amazon interface allows you to add tags to the instance. It’s a very handy feature when you have hundreds of similar virtual machines.

AWS Ec2 Tag Interface8. Security group is a set of firewall rules that control traffic to your instance. Only allow a minimum amount of ports for connection. Do not open all ports to the public.

Click “Review and Launch”.

AWS EC2 Security Group9. Review the instance settings. If settings are correct, click “Launch” to start the instance.

AWS EC2 Review Instance Launch10. There are no key pair existing. Create a new key pair and type in a key pair name, then download the key pair file with extension “.pem”. Save the file in a safe place. You will need this file to access your virtual server.

Click “Launch Instances”.

AWS EC2 Key Pair11. Return to the EC2 console page. Wait until your instance state changes from “pending” to “running“.

AWS EC2 Instance State

We have now successfully created a RedHat instance. You can create Windows server instance using similar procedures.

Let’s connect to the server and install Ahsay Backup Software.

Installing AhsayOBS in Linux

1. On the instance overview page, click “Connect”. You will see two methods to connect to your instance. We now use PuTTY to connect the instance.

Using PuTTY requires you to convert the private key format generated by Amazon (.pem) to the required PuTTY format (.ppk). PuTTY has a tool named PuTTYgen to do so. Refer to the AWS documentation for details.

If you are using SSH client in Linux, you can just follow the instructions in AWS “Connect” page.

2. After successful connection, you should see the following screen.

AWS Virtual Machine3. Following the AhsayOBS Setup manual, the commands to install AhsayOBS is as follows.

Change to root login
# sudo su –

Download AhsayOBS from http://ahsay-dn.ahsay.com/current/obsr-nix.tar.gz

Define the directory you would like to install the software by settings AhsayOBSR_HOME environment variable.
# OBS_HOME=/usr/local/obs; export OBS_HOME

Untar to the OBS home folder
# mkdir $OBS_HOME
# cp obsr-nix-tar.gz $OBS_HOME
# cd $OBS_HOME
# gunzip obsr-nix.tar.gz
# tar –xf obsr-nix.tar

Install AhsayOBS
# /usr/local/obs/bin/install.sh

4. Go to web console to check if AhsayOBS is installed properly. To verify that, please point the web browser to http://<your-backup-server>/.

Installing AhsayOBS in Windows

1. Using Windows Remote Desktop Connection or any other remote desktop client can easily connect to a Windows virtual server.

AWS Remote Desktop Connection2. In the AWS Connect page, you can find the IP of the virtual machine. Click “Get Password” to generate the Administrator password by uploading private key file. Your Administrator password will be shown.

AWS Windows Connection Details3. After successful login, you can download AhsayOBS (exe version) from our website. Execute the obsr-win.exe file downloaded and the install wizard will be shown. Select the language that you would like to use during the installation from the dropdown box and click the [OK].

AWS Remote Windows Instance

Best Practices in using AWS

1.  Protect your key pairs and access keys

Key pairs consist of a public key and a private key. Access keys are access key ID and secret access key to sign programmatic requests to AWS when you’re using the AWS SDK, REST, or Query APIs. These keys are important credentials that allow access to all your resources, including your billing information. Keep your keys locked away like your credit card number. Don’t send your keys to anyone.

2. Create individual IAM users

AWS allows you to create IAM users as individual users to access your AWS account. You can grant different permissions to each IAM user. If necessary, you can change or revoke an IAM user’s permissions any time. It will be much easier to control permission than using the root account credentials. If your root account credentials are leaked, it would be difficult to revoke them.

(Refer to AWS guide for more best practices: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/IAM/latest/UserGuide/IAMBestPractices.html)

3.  Understand the AWS pricing model

AWS has increasingly large number of web products. It’s important for users to understand the pricing model for each product that fits your needs. Misunderstanding or wrong configurations can easily lead to skyrocketing bills at the end of month if you are not careful.

4.  Use the monthly calculator to estimate your monthly expense

Amazon has provided tools for you to understand the pricing model. In face of the complexity of products, AWS has provided a monthly calculator to estimate your monthly expenses. It would give you a detailed picture of the cost structure before committing to use AWS for production. (http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html).

5.  Set up alarm to monitor billing

Get notified for your usage. AWS puts monitoring service into a product called “CloudWatch”, in which you can monitor operational and performance metrics for your AWS cloud resources and applications. It is best practice to create an billing alarm. It will send you notification when the bill has exceeded your expected charge.

 

Setup AhsayOBS v6 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Part 1

More than once our partners have queried about the support of using virtualized environment to host AhsayOBS. The proliferation of cloud platforms and price cut competition among cloud platform services. We have prepared this blog post to guide you through the set up process of Ahsay Backup Software in Amazon Web Services.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the cloud computing platform by Amazon. Utilizing the cloud platform services can eliminate the need for managed backup service providers to build their own physical server farms. You don’t need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on managing that hardware. AWS employs pay-as-you-go pricing structure. Service providers can then subscribe to on-demand IT resources as their backup business grows.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service that provides resizable computer capacity in the cloud.

After successfully provisioning a server instance in AWS EC2, installing Ahsay Backup Software in AWS takes similar steps as in physical servers. This part 1 walks through installation steps in AWS EC2.

Sign up an AWS account

1. Go to the AWS web page and click “Sign In to the Console” or “Try AWS for Free”.

AWS front page

2. Enter a valid email address and choose “I am a new user”. Click “Sign in using our secure server”.

AWS login page

 

3. Fill in the Sign up form and register as a new user.

AWS login details

 

4. Fill in contact information

AWS contact info

 

5. AWS requires entering credit card number

AWS payment information

 

6. The next step is to enter phone number for new account verification.

AWS phone verification

 

7. After clicking “Call Me Now”, you will receive an automated call on your phone. Follow the instruction and enter the pin shown on screen.

AWS Registration pin

8. After entering the pin on phone, the screen will show that verification has been completed.

AWS Registration Completed

9. Choose support plan as needed. AWS Choose Support Plan

10. You will be directed to the front page. Click on “Launch Management Console” to start using AWS.

AWS Login Page

11. You can start using AWS web services.

AWS Services

By now you should have a valid AWS account to start playing with virtual machines. The next blog post will walk you through the AhsayOBS installation process.

Using any cloud services would require extra security considerations. The next blog post will also discuss the Best Practices in using AWS EC2, describing good practices to prevent security pitfalls and let you get maximum benefit with Amazon EC2. Stay tuned!