CASE STUDY

UK-based MSP, Autodata, Develops Cloudlake®: A Lucrative New Revenue Stream Powered by Wasabi

July 12, 2023By Carson Barcome

With offices in the UK, Netherlands, and USA, alongside numerous global data-center locations, Autodata is a cyber security, cloud storage, backup, and managed services-focused IT provider with hundreds of customers globally across EMEA, APAC, and the United States. Operating for over 35 years, the company’s primary services have expanded to include data-center support, cloud-storage adoption, and backup management. 

Challenge: Managing unpredictable costs for end-users from hyperscaler cloud providers 

Autodata has always offered on-premises infrastructure hardware and services integrated with common public-cloud platforms. After identifying that many customers were experiencing worryingly unpredictable and inflated costs associated with hyperscaler cloud provider services, they began to look for an alternative cloud storage solution without any complicated fees or storage tiers. “Almost every one of our customers was running into egress-associated cost issues and becoming dissatisfied with the long, confusing invoices for data storage that they were receiving from their cloud provider every month,” said Dominic McLoughlin, Director at Autodata.   

Solution: Wasabi + Veeam provide flexible, affordable backup solution 

Autodata began to offer Wasabi as a standalone cloud-storage option for clients looking for a more flexible and affordable service. Its data-center team then noticed an increase in clients looking to back up their Veeam environments to Wasabi storage. From there, the Wasabi-Veeam solution became much more than the Autodata team had envisioned. “As more customers adopted Wasabi, we also started to add more and more Veeam backup services,” said Anthony Bucknor, Autodata’s Head of Data Center and Cloud. “When we saw how well Wasabi paired with Veeam, we realized we had a unique offering to take to market.” Based on the noticeable client demand and clear cost savings, Autodata created a new service offering that has proven to be a complete game-changer for the company and its customers. 

Autodata Cloudlake®, powered by Wasabi 

Today, the company’s primary cloud-based solution is its proprietary Cloudlake® platform, powered by Wasabi. With Cloudlake, Autodata can introduce different cloud-related products and services into its overarching platform, which is invoiced to the customer on a rolling-monthly basis. Customers choose the licensing and applications that best suit their needs, resulting in a flexible, scalable solution. The platform’s entire storage backend is powered by Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage. Although Cloudlake customers do not have to convert their current cloud storage to Wasabi (as Cloudlake can be implemented with any application), Autodata recommends Wasabi so highly that most clients willingly implement it as their primary cloud-storage destination. “Although we offer a completely disaggregated cloud model, as we always remark internally, ‘All roads lead to Wasabi,’ and why shouldn’t they? Wasabi is quite simply a far better solution. To date, our Cloudlake customers have converted to Wasabi at almost a 100% rate,” said Bucknor. Over 80% of Autodata’s customers using Wasabi are backing up their environments with Veeam, a Wasabi technology partner. Said Bucknor, “Our focus has shifted completely from on-premises services and support to our Cloudlake platform. We expected the cloud offerings to be the ‘cherry on top’ in terms of profit. It actually transpired that the Wasabi-Veeam backup model is the cake itself for both Autodata and our customers.” 

Easier, more efficient management with Wasabi Account Control Manager 

A key component of Autodata’s success in building its Cloudlake platform has been the deployment of Wasabi Account Control Manager. This centralized management platform automates cloud-storage account creation, management, and user billing. With Wasabi Account Control Manager, Autodata has streamlined its own billing and account management. Bucknor said, “We supply our Cloudlake customers with Wasabi’s Pay-As-You-Go storage. Without Wasabi Account Control Manager, we couldn’t offer this at scale because there’s no way we could handle billing in a non-labor-intensive way. For a multi-tenant environment, Wasabi Account Control Manager is a necessity.” Monthly reports are simple and automated, saving time and effort for the Autodata team. Because the initial point of using Wasabi was to bring in new clients, Autodata had set up Wasabi Account Control Manager even before it had developed its Cloudlake platform. “We knew we were going to onboard clients of varying sizes, and we needed an effective way to manage provisioning and monthly billing,” Bucknor said, “Wasabi Account Control Manager makes it very easy for us to provision and manage Wasabi accounts for individual customers – it fits all our needs.” 

Data sovereignty with Immutable Microsoft 365 backups 

An additional benefit for Cloudlake customers is the ability to use Wasabi and Veeam to back up Microsoft 365 data. Microsoft doesn’t provide backup for 365 data itself. Instead, Microsoft explicitly recommends using a third-party backup tool. Cloudlake provides managed Microsoft 365 backup services, primarily using Veeam and Wasabi. Along with enabling quick backup and restores of Microsoft 365 data, the joint solution of Veeam and Wasabi ensures data sovereignty while providing a secure backup location outside of the Microsoft environment. “Our customers gain security from a contractual point of view and avoid technical lock-in, but they also gain full sovereignty and control over their data. An important part of the service is that we back up their data outside of the Microsoft 365 tenancy in an immutable repository,” said Bucknor. “Should they be compromised by ransomware, or Microsoft themselves have a problem, or there was some kind of geo-destabilization, the customer’s ability to access, restore, and retain their data would remain unaffected.” Using Wasabi for Microsoft 365 backups ensures data sovereignty in whichever global region customers need it, and they can back up and restore data seamlessly while keeping that data outside of the public-cloud provider’s environment. 

Next Steps 

After shifting their datacenter team’s priorities to focus primarily on the Wasabi-Veeam backup solution, Autodata is developing various plans with Wasabi for the future, beginning with Wasabi Surveillance Cloud, which allows users to extend the capacity of their on-premises surveillance video management system (VMS). “With Wasabi Surveillance Cloud, there’s a green-field opportunity; it’s another way to grow our storage footprint via a solution perfectly designed for the surveillance market,” said Bucknor. In addition to Surveillance Cloud, Autodata has added Wasabi Cloud NAS to its portfolio, a cloud-connected, network-attached storage solution built to offload data from on-premises storage to Wasabi. “We already have clients who have seen the benefits of using Wasabi Cloud NAS, and we can definitely see a fit for that in our solution stack, especially as companies accelerate their migration of data into the cloud,” said Bucknor. “There’s a need for on-premises data in conjunction with the security, scalability, and flexibility of cloud storage, and Cloud NAS seems to fit that need perfectly.” 

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