The Night of the Dying Server

August 16, 2016 Logan Bibby

What if…

Your client is a highly regarded accounting firm in the midst of tax season, by far the most critical time of year?

You’re managing its outdated technology with fingers crossed – waiting, at the client’s request, until after tax season to upgrade the server?

Luck runs out: the server dies, leaving you with a potentially catastrophic recovery scenario.

Welcome to David Rashkovan’s nightmare – NOT!

Normally, when everything that can go wrong does go wrong, you have a disaster of epic proportions on your hands. In this case, Rashkovan (who is CEO of Ontario MSP Rational Business Solutions) woke up one morning to a server that had died overnight. Its motherboard was fried. Critical amounts of his client’s revenue were on the line. And the Montreal-based accounting firm faced serious regulatory violations if data was lost. Not only that, but the accounting firm’s own clients were left waiting. (For reasons I think are obvious, that client wishes to remain anonymous!)

But when Rashkovan told me his story, he wore a smile a mile wide – even though that server ultimately proved beyond repair. It turns out he knows a thing or two about the challenges of securing data and restoring client systems fast, in a crisis. His company has been delivering reliable and secure IT infrastructure to small- and mid-sized businesses for more than 15 years.

Having a Datto SIRIS in place afforded my client the ability to continue ‘business as usual’ during one of its busiest times despite total hardware failure, and with minimal downtime. That is what I call true business continuity.

– David Rashkovan
CEO, Ontario MSP Rational Business Solutions

Zero Data Loss

Rashkovan explains that he and his team at Rational drained the drama out of that accounting firm’s crisis about six months before it happened. That’s when he switched to a Datto Total Data Protection solution for backup and disaster recovery – more specifically, Datto SIRIS.

I know that sounds self-serving coming from me, here at Datto. But Datto SIRIS gave Rational local and cloud-based backups of all client data. In the case of the accounting firm, incremental backups of all their data were set for every hour, 24/7/365, with regular Screenshot Backup Verifications™ that visually confirmed each successful backup.

And because the server died in the night, the firm didn’t even lose what little data might have been created in the hour between backups. No data was lost – so no regulations were violated!

Failover in 45 Minutes

But having your data safely backed up is one thing. Accessing that backup to conduct business-as-usual, despite a dead server, is an order-of-magnitude bigger challenge.

Except that SIRIS drained the drama out of that part of the crisis, too. It enables instant virtualization, both on-site and in Datto’s secure cloud (designed from the ground up for backup

and fast restore). Working with Datto’s always-on, in-house support team, Rational created a virtual machine that replicated the client’s environment on the local SIRIS device complete with data from the latest backup – and connected it to all 40 of the client’s PCs. Rational got the entire accounting firm up and running in just 45 minutes!

Business as Usual Despite Total Hardware Failure

Rational still wasn’t done, however. With a couple of weeks before a new server could be installed and operating, and tax deadlines looming, the client was looking for even faster performance. More specifically, they looked to eliminate the latency of the Internet connection to the virtualized cloud. Rational called on SIRIS once more, this time to perform a bare metal restore to an older, spare server (the original was not repairable). That on-site solution provided all the juice the accounting firm needed to get all the way through tax day.

Rashkovan concludes: “Having a Datto SIRIS in place afforded my client the ability to continue ‘business as usual’ during one of its busiest times despite total hardware failure, and with minimal downtime. That is what I call true business continuity.”


Whether you’re an MSP or the IT manager of an accounting firm, the Datto family of products — and the SIRIS 3, specifically — and Zentek will be there to support your operations no matter when a near-disaster strikes. Start a consultation or contact your account executive to talk about the protections the SIRIS can offer.

This is a Success Story provided by our vendor Datto. Datto is an innovative provider of comprehensive backup, recovery, and business continuity solutions used by thousands of managed service providers worldwide. Datto’s 180+ PB purpose-built cloud and family of software and hardware devices provide Total Data Protection everywhere business data lives.