StorageCraft has reworked their ShadowProtect offering specifically to address requests for improved security, in part to handle Work From Home environments, and to handle the increasingly large volumes of storage that has to be backed up.
Today, data protection provider StorageCraft is announcing the immediate availability of their long-standing StorageCraft ShadowProtect solution, with the SPX 7 version. They have made changes to their VirtualBoot technology to instantly recover larger storage volumes, and have made a series of technical and administrative improvements around workflow enhancements.
ShadowProtect is a decade-old product which has developed a strong following among many StorageCraft partners, who continue to use it even though StorageCraft introduced ShadowXafe, which has newer technology elements, in 2018.
“We still call ShadowProtect our flagship product, as many MSPs still use it as their core product,” said Shridar Subramanian, StorageCraft’s CMO and vice president of global product management. “ShadowXafe is next-gen and is catching on. Within a few years, customers will be deploying both side by side and we will continue to support that.”
Subramanian indicated that there are significant differences between the two solutions.
“ShadowProtect has evolved from an engine-based solution where the focus was on physical servers and providing very flexible types of recovery,” he said. “The area where ShadowProtect was kind of lacking in technology, we addressed with ShadowXafe – enabling customers to product virtual machines efficiently. With ShadowXafe we took the core engine of ShadowProtect and added on agentless backup and recovery . So in a VM environment we just hook onto the hypervisor with no agent required for the VM.”
At the same time, Subramanian stressed that StorageCraft is committed to ShadowProtect, which remains very popular with MSPs, and that the major investment in the next-gen SPX 7 is the result.
“Customers who have built business around ShadowProtect are continuing to do that, and we continue to innovate around it,” he said. “As we move to a more dominant virtual environment, ShadowXafe becomes an idea because an agent per VM is cumbersome. ShadowXafe also has a better UI and a policy-based backup and recovery mechanism. ShadowProtect is very good for physical environments and flexible recovery options – and many MSPs like it. ShadowXafe has deep support for virtualization and ‘set and forget’ policy settings.”
The next-generation of ShadowProtect has been driven by some key requests from MSPs.
“We find customers here are being driven by a couple important business decisions,” said Hugo Parra, StorageCraft’s Senior Director of Product Management. “With people working from home, they are more vulnerable to having their data corrupted, so MSPs want their systems to not be vulnerable to that. They also have to back up and recover much large volumes of storage, and need to be able to handle that. We got a lot of requests for partners for those things.”
In order to handle instant recoverability for larger volumes of data, StorageCraft had to update its patented VirtualBoot technology, and that involved making changes to the OS kernel.
“We had to update some kernel pieces, and that is delicate, to say the least, but we can now support much larger volumes with VirtualBoot in SPX 7,” Parra said. This larger volume support for VirtualBoot lets partners instantly recover larger data set sizes of >2TB up to 4TB systems (UEFI) within their customer environments.
SPX7 now supports new versions of Linux OS and ReFS [Resilient File System] support for Windows, which offers built-in data corruption detection for all data types, including unstructured data such as high-res images, videos, and design files.
“Moving to the latest platforms really helps to bolster reliability,” Parra indicated. “In addition, our deployment and licensing processes have both been simplified. We had 100 upgrades that went out without a glitch when this went live, which we track through our licensing portals. Making improvements to how the product is installed also means that we will have no reoccurrence of an old Windows issue. We did a lot of work to avoid downtime in going to this version, which removes any need to reinstall. We eased that burden for partners.”
Parra also noted that localization improvements had also been made, which impacts some geos.
“We smoothed a few things out in certain languages to improve ease of use,” he said.
Another ease of use issue involved fixing a procedural issue which sometimes resulted in MSP licenses being deactivated.
“There have been times where licenses have been deactivated when MSPs made changes to their operating system,” Parra noted. “It was overreactive on our part. Customers didn’t understand why some licenses were deactivated and had to be reinstated. So we have changed the configurations to make sure customers using licenses in a legitimate way are not disrupted.”
Enhanced workflows now make it easier for service desk engineers to quickly onboard new environments and complete support tasks with greater efficiency.
“We’ve also continued to work very closely with companies that do remote management tools like ConnectWise,” Parra said. “A year and a half ago, we took ownership of that plug-in to drive a more timely release cadence. It’s an important investment for us.”
StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX 7 is available now.