Valiant and Datto: A Great Partnership, Part I

Valiant Technology is proud to announce that we are expanding our partnership with Datto, providing our clients with additional backup services designed to minimize operational downtime when a disaster strikes.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit with Valiant’s President, Georg Dauterman, to learn more about our partnership with Datto and our overall initiative focused on their services.

Matt: Hi Georg, thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk about all of the activity surrounding our expanding partnership with Datto. Before we get in to Datto though, why don’t se spend a moment talking about Valiant? What exactly is Valiant Technology? What do we do here?

Georg: That’s a great question, Matt. Valiant is a managed service provider based in New York. As a managed service provider, we provide IT services to the ACE, or architecture, construction, and engineering space, along with creative and general professional service industries.

We’ve been doing this since 2002. We put a lot of focus on Microsoft solutions, but are also a team of Mac specialists. We follow what we call The Valiant Way, which is based on 3 guiding principles: security, stability, and scalability. It’s the core of our approach and logic behind our solutions.

If you can’t restore operations in the case of an outage, then you’re really not doing your job as an IT professional.

M: Being in business for 16 years is quite a feat. Most small businesses, and I’d say that Valiant isn’t quite a small business anymore, don’t make it past the first 5 years – at least, in my own experience. 

Before we really get in to things, let’s take a few minutes to talk about the relationship – not only with Datto, but to better understand the merger between Autotask and Datto given that we’ve had separate relationships with each for quite some time.

G: We’ve been an Autotask client for over 10 years and their presence can be found throughout all of the services we provide to our clients. We use their ticketing system, remote management tools, and some of their other backup products. The merger between Autotask and Datto has streamlined their offerings down to a single vendor that does a great job.

M: It sounds like the relationship with Autotask played a significant role in the decision to expand the partnership. Now, with all of the different competitive services that are available, what other reasons caused Valiant to make this decision?

G: Datto provides an industry-leading product. Their initial product was built around backup and disaster recovery, and those items are at the core of what we do when working with our clients. If you can’t restore operations in the case of an outage, then you’re really not doing your job as an IT professional.

M: The idea of working with a company with those capabilities helps us rest assured that the backups for our clients are being taken care of. How about features that separate from the competition? Are there any features that help a client rest easy knowing that their data isn’t only in good hands, but in multiple sets of hands in case something should happen?

G: Well a picture is worth a thousand words, and Datto includes a great visual check that provides a screenshot for successful backups. It’s super helpful and the reaction from our clients has been very positive.

For us, we’ve found that the round-trip ticketing solution that is integrated with Autotask allows us to quickly identify issues and provide either remediation or escalation – and that’s one of the greatest facets of the Datto solution. Datto has a great support team behind them, and we know what if we have an issue they are there for us – just like we are for our clients.

The other big thing, being such a large company, they have the geographical reach, data centers, and firepower to support our needs.

M: Firepower and a properly equipped team are 2 incredibly important components to any work like this. It’s something that we know, internally, from the work that we do and put in to practice, and seeing a vendor take a similar approach is something that is very assuring to me.

You mentioned the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and it absolutely is, and I think that the ability to have a screenshot confirm the completion of a backup is a fantastic thing. When it comes to Datto, at least one of those thousand words is “protected.”

G: One of the things I haven’t mentioned yet is the instant virtualization component. It lets you bring a server online in a matter of seconds, depending on the type of appliance used, in order to get back up and running quickly – as opposed to hours or days with a more traditional approach.

M: So what you’re saying is that we’re effectively removing the idea of bare-metal restore when Datto’s services are involved. You just mentioned a Datto appliance – what exactly are they for?

G: The Datto appliances are purpose-built backup servers, designed to perform a single function and do so well. What’s really nice is that it can run as a server for your users in an emergency situation, but it’s main purpose is to absorb backups and keep your data protected and ready for virtualization if needed.

M: Interesting! I spent some time reviewing Datto’s materials to get a solid understanding of the platform before we sat down today. One thing I noticed quite a bit is the mention of an “initial backup process.” Can you provide some insight in to what this process is, and how it differs from a typical backup job?

G: The initial backup involves imaging a server’s entire disk, moving it to the backup appliance, and then to the cloud. The efficiencies in the backup process are realized once the seed has been placed on the backup appliance and the cloud because you’re just writing the deltas, or the changes, in your data at that point. This means that the initial backup can take some time due to the amount of data and available bandwidth.

M: You just mentioned bandwidth, and that was going to be my next question. Given that there are the 2 factors that determine how long the initial backup takes – both data and bandwidth, are there situations where there alternative ways for the process to take place?

G: Yes. We’ve found when the amount of data to protect is over 4TB or so, we create a “seed drive” and ship it to Datto for proper ingestion. This allows us to take the time for the backup from weeks down to days.

M: Ultimately, what we have is a backup platform that uses its own hardware to make sure that it can function as reliably as possible. It also has the ability to instantly virtualize a server should an emergency occur, within as little as 6 seconds – which is just about all of the time we have left right now.

G: Right, we have plenty to do! Let’s pick our conversation back up next week. There’s so much more for us to talk about.

Georg and I will be finishing our conversation next week. Please come back to see where our conversation goes!

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