Case Study: Partner Success Story

MSP Success: Peak UpTime Bolsters their BCDR and their Business with Unitrends

Unitrends has always been there to help us. It makes us better working together and shows us as somebody that really cares about their clients’ backups. Matt Auld
Vice President of Cloud Services

Unitrends Solution for Peak UpTime

Protected Environment
  • Wide range of customer environments
  • Physical servers
  • Virtual servers - Hyper-V, VMware, and XenServer
  • Microsoft 365
  • Flexible deployment options
  • CapEx vs. OpEx billing models
  • Ransomware detection
  • Automated, application-level recovery testing
  • Instant Lab (sandbox) for patch, QA, DevOps testing
  • Hybrid cloud support

The challenge

In 2014, Peak UpTime made the transition from a product-focused company to a strategic service provider. “I’ve been with Peak since 2007,” recalls Auld. “We started as an MSP in 2014. We went from a product-based company, maybe about 20% managed services [at that time], and now that’s turned around to where we’re primarily an MSP.”

As Peak UpTime began planning their transformation to a service provider, they knew that backup and recovery capabilities for their clients would be critical.

“We take the business of protecting our clients’ data seriously,” says Auld. “We didn’t really have backup-as-a-service prior to Unitrends, and that’s one of the things that drove us to the partnership. It’s important for us to be able to deliver [data protection] as a service to our clients.”

Evaluating a backup and disaster recovery solution to meet the needs of their blossoming MSP business was no small task. Matt Auld and his team led the efforts to evaluate and validate the right technical fit for their business.

Auld and his team evaluated several other backup products. “[But] they didn’t have the same feature sets that we [wanted] to offer our clients that Unitrends had.”

“The ability to backup physical and virtual appliances, to do Hyper-V/VMware, and the ability to do XenServer and to do disaster recovery for those… [Unitrends’] products gave us great flexibility to be able to perform disaster-recovery-as-a-service for our clients.”

Beyond a wide-range of support for physical servers, virtual machines and guest applications, Unitrends’ ability to deploy either a physical or virtual purpose-built backup appliance offered Peak Uptime even greater flexibility in being able to customize deployments to match each individual client’s needs.

“The ability to have either a physical or virtual appliance made it really nice for some of the SMB clients that couldn’t afford a large [physical] appliance,” says Auld. “It makes sense on what the need of the client is. OpEx over CapEx? If a client said, ‘We want to do this on a monthly recurring basis,’ we can do that. Also, the partnership of being able to go to the Unitrends Cloud or to our own private cloud was an important piece of that and maybe the key component.”

“[Unitrends] allowed us to do a Disaster Recovery Service, what we call ‘Cold DR.’ With the tool sets we have with Unitrends, it makes it possible for even a small company to say, ‘We have DR.’”

Peak UpTime
Peak UpTime is a cloud managed service provider offering cloud-enabled capabilities, including infrastructure, backup and recovery, platform, unified communications, security and networking services since 1984. With locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, Peak UpTime primarily serves customers in the central U.S. markets. For over 30 years, Peak UpTime has honed experience-driven insight to help their clients maximize the use and value of their technology solutions through customized, cost-conscious solutions optimized to increase productivity and improve profitability. After transitioning the business to a managed service provider (MSP) model, their 40 employees today help manage and protect over 130,000 customer endpoints. Matt Auld, Vice President of Cloud Services, led that transformation.

Follow Up

For a technology company with “uptime” as part of their name, DR services are a key offering. Peak UpTime utilizes a combination of their own private cloud infrastructure and Unitrends virtual appliances.

“One of the really unique things with [Unitrends’] virtual appliance is that we can stream [data] across our layer two backbone from Chicago to Denver,” explains Auld. “We don’t [necessarily need] appliances for each [data] set. We drag those backups across that layer two connection; nobody else could do that. It’s been a really nice feature and when people want to use those infrastructure services, we already have the toolsets to be able to do that.”

When asked if there was a particular incident or scenario that stood out to Auld during their time as a Unitrends partner, he recalls a client who leverages Unitrends across multiple locations to meet strict manufacturing uptime needs:

“[For] one of our larger clients, a Berkshire Hathaway company, we put Unitrends in there because they had a lot of remote locations, and while those locations didn’t have many VMs, they were critical to operations. Many of them were facilities that needed to have functionality on a 24×7 basis, and things like ransomware detection — that’s been really big, and Unitrends was doing it way before anyone else.”

“[Unitrends] saved the day on more than one occasion where we had to recover and stand-up sites because of either ransomware or a corrupted environment. We always delivered within the SLA and everybody was happy. The VP of IT from this client met with [Unitrends CTO at the time] and said that to him and many people on your leadership team.”

As one of Unitrends’ first MSP partners, the Peak UpTime team has worked closely with Unitrends for many years to optimize their use of the technology.

“When you think about Unitrends from 2014, there’s been a lot of changes,” recalls Auld. “Everything has been rock-solid as far as the product is concerned. It’s evolved well over the years to the point where it’s very simple to function and manage.”

“You have a product that’s direct-to-cloud for an endpoint or a physical server. We love that. It solved a lot of problems for us with regards to protecting endpoints.”

Beyond supporting a wide array of device configurations, operating systems, virtual environments and applications, the Peak UpTime team has been able to streamline operations by leveraging innovations including UniView.

When asked if there were ways Unitrends saves his technicians time and efficiency, Recovery Assurance came immediately to mind:

“The sandbox feature (Instant Lab) and some of the other capabilities around that. We have a large infrastructure and platform-as-a-service — being able to spin something up and let people test their virtual machines — we love that. Right from the testing, the disaster recovery solution, the capabilities to standup VMs from backups…Unitrends, I think, is the leader in that.”

Auld and the Peak UpTime team maintain a regular cadence with their dedicated Unitrends team to address any concerns that arise, stay updated with the latest updates and feature releases, and continue to build on many years of mutual success.

“Unitrends has always been there to help us,” Auld says. “It makes us all look good to the clients, that we collaborate as a team. It makes us better working together and shows us as somebody that really cares about their clients’ backups.”

“From the business side of things, it’s not only how it’s helped us build our business, but also the relationships we’ve created within Unitrends. It started out as a great relationship and it continues to be a great relationship. I’m expecting [Unitrends] to be with us for many years to come, and hopefully we can grow our partnership even more than what we have today.”