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Hurricanes Harvey, Irma Aftermath: Datto Powers Up Local Partners

Datto VP Matt Richards
Datto VP Matt Richards

Faced with the one-two punch of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Datto deployed disaster recovery teams to Texas and Florida. The situation for Houston-based IT service providers has shown dramatic improvement. And the progress report in Florida sounds promising -- though the cleanup effort there is massive.

Datto, headquartered in Connecticut, had a disaster recovery team on the ground in Texas for roughly three weeks, rotating new people out every five or six days, according to VP of Product Marketing Matthew Richards.

The company develops business continuity, backup, disaster recovery and networking equipment for MSPs that support SMB customers. That equipment has come in handy during the recovery efforts.

Datto Disaster Recovery Assistance

As of September 13, Datto's Texas-area team had deployed:

  • 26 Datto Networking Appliances (DNAs) with integrated 4G LTE failover. Eight of those appliances went to shelters and 18 went to partners. The most interesting deployment involved the NRG shelter, which had 2,000 people living in four areas (each housing about 500 people).
  • Two device replacements involving SIRIS and ALTO BCDR appliances

The Datto team is now collecting DNAs back from shelters in the area as they close, working with a few partners to deploy more DNAs as needed, Richards says.

The company also is working with a few displaced customers to help with new or replacement devices. The Texas recovery, at least in terms of local MSP infrastructure, appears to be improving rapidly. Based on positive feedback from local partners plus FedEx resuming equipment delivers in the region, the local Datto team as of Wednesday was preparing to return home.

Overall, Datto resolved roughly 55 or Harvey-related tickets for partners, which were mostly cloud virtualizations and individual file restores.

Meanwhile, In Florida

Datto dispatched a separate recovery team from Connecticut to Lakeland, Fla., this past weekend. The team arrived on Monday, Sept. 11, just as Irma had passed.

The recovery team set up shop at a partner location in Tampa on Tuesday and deployed roughly nine DNAs for partners that very first day, Richards says. Partners have since requested more devices. A second Irma recovery team arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 13, to gather supplies and pre-positioned DNAs to transport them to Tampa, establishing supply lines and extending the company's local reach, Richards says.

By Wednesday, Datto's team was beginning active outreach to partners to see how the company could assist further that day. The company also was exploring local shelters to see if those facilities needed IT assistance.

Datto had received 131 partner tickets related to Irma as of Wednesday, nearly all of them are for cloud virtualization of servers for customers without power.

The Bigger Picture

Thousands of professionals and volunteers from all walks of life continue to assist the Harvey and Irma recovery efforts. No doubt, Harvey's havoc will haunt Houston for months -- perhaps years. The cleanup requirements are even larger in Florida, where the largest disaster recovery initiative in U.S. history is unfolding now.

Residents and businesses in Florida need the basics -- power, fuel,etc. But they may soon face a big challenge involving cash flow -- especially since so many businesses in the area are still dark and unable to generate revenues. Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced an emergency small business lending program. The U.S. Small Business Administration also is assisting with low-interest loans.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.