Corso, an open-source tool for backing up Microsoft 365 Data, was lucky to have Kias Hanifa, CTO at Fonicom, extensively test it. He was kind enough to write this guest post
I’d like to tell the story of how Corso is helping us build a more reliable experience for our clients. To start with, a word about my company:
Fonicom is a multi-disciplinary ICT solutions company specializing in systems integration and software development. Our systems integration expertise covers networking, security, virtualisation, mobility, storage, Linux, Open-source technologies, public and private cloud solutions, business continuity, productivity, unified communications and collaboration, amongst others.
From open source to public cloud
Originally, our main differentiator was our knowledge of open-source tools. We were open-source enthusiasts, and it had a strong business case as one of our key offerings. As we’ve grown, and as a SaaS/open-source hybrid approach has gotten more standard, we’ve now got AWS Partner, Dell Titanium Partner, Google, and Microsoft Partner status.
There was a time when people mainly looked to managed service providers to give expertise in tools that had no other support. In the last several years though everyone acknowledges the need for public cloud expertise.
As we got into cloud offerings, we found things like Microsoft Office 365 and AWS S3 to offer market-leading solutions to our customers. I further identified that Microsoft 365 backups were a key area where people wanted better tools. This led me to discover Corso.
The most important part of any open-source project
When I first explored Corso I knew right away that they had the most important feature for any open-source project, or any software project: clear documentation.
Corso is a tool for bridging two public clouds: creating backups of Microsoft Office 365 and sending them to object storage such as AWS S3. That means setup is relatively simple and involves connecting the two systems to each other. The documentation was straightforward to understand and follow and I got started almost right away.
What it means to be a Managed Service Provider
We serve a lot of blue chip companies and Fortune 500 companies at Fonicom, and it’s reasonable to ask: what's the most central benefit they get from our managed services?
Fundamentally, what Fonicom gives its clients is peace of mind. When a team elects to use a managed service provider they’re giving a strong signal that they don’t want to be running into the limits of our platform. They don’t want unexpected errors and they don’t want to discover that they’re experiencing an edge case leading to unexpected failure.
While evaluating Corso I really tried to put the tool through its paces, since I knew my clients would have high expectations of any backup offering. You can test a hundred scenarios in your own process, but, as an MSP, if the client finds even a small glitch, they will quickly get in touch to complain. This is where we were impressed by how well the Corso team addressed our requirements and how well the Corso-based backups worked with the complex and large Microsoft 365 setups found in our environments.
The second most important part of any open-source project
Corso is a new project, and it’s not yet at v1. While testing it out, I ran into cases that the tool couldn’t handle. That was when I joined the Corso Discord and interacted directly with the team. I felt a lot more confident in using Corso, because wow, this team really knows what they’re doing!
In the course of our testing, as our team tested Corso extensively for large backups, not only did the team work hard to understand the problem, but new releases in direct response to our bugs quickly resolved any issues we ran into.
One example that stands out is an error caused by a user having two calendars with identical names. Naming two calendars the same isn’t supported in Office 365 and can only happen as part of a merge or migration. This is the kind of edge case that could really affect my clients! When I discussed the problem with the Corso team, they were able to release a fix soon after.
Giving back to the open-source community
It feels great to get to offer my feedback and my support to this free and open-source community. I’ve long been a supporter of open-source tools, and it’s so gratifying to see new solutions for longstanding problems
A word from Corso
We’re immensely grateful to Kias and all our early users for being generous with their time and attention as it has rapidly improved Corso's stability and robustness. It’s a great feeling, being the only free and open-source tool to back up Microsoft Office 365 data. If you’d like to give us a try please take a look a the quickstart guide, then join Kias and others on the Corso discord to tell us what you think!