Is the Cost of Switching Backup Solutions Worth the Cloud Gains?

Organizations look to change data protection software for a variety of reasons. Two of the most popular involve the cloud; cloud backup storage and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). There are many problems though with switching software and the gain from the switch has to outweigh the cost of switching.

The Cost of Switching

There are some obvious costs to switching data protection software. There is the cost of the software itself. There may even be a hardware cost as the software may require an investment in new backup storage or servers. There is also the cost of retraining IT personnel on the new software.

Less apparent costs include an almost certain feature gap as not all software has the same features as other software. The feature gap is more prevalent in new “cloud-specific” applications that focus mostly on virtual environments and cloud storage. They often lack enterprise features like legacy platform support (Solaris, AIX, HP/UX) and legacy storage support (tape).

Potentially a more critical consideration is the cost of migrating to the new application. Most organizations have an extensive backup history stored within their backup solution. Organizations use their backup application to retain data for convenience, for corporate governance purposes or to meet compliance requirements. To keep their backup history and data, organizations that switch backup applications typically need to maintain an instance of their old backup software and all the capacity that the old process consumes. In many cases, the organization needs to maintain the old backup infrastructure for seven or more years.

How Compelling is the Cloud for Data Protection?

With the cost of switching understood, the organization needs to decide if the capabilities of the cloud are worth the cost of switching. For an organization whose application presence is in the data center, the initial appeal of the cloud is leveraging cloud storage resources for data retention and cloud computing resources for disaster recovery capabilities. Using the cloud for storage enables the organization to reduce their investment in on-premises secondary storage. Additionally, using the cloud for disaster recovery enables the organization to eliminate their investment in secondary site costs.

The cost advantages of cloud storage depend on how much data the organization needs to store in the cloud and for how long it needs to store that data. The cost advantages of eliminating a secondary site and all the requirements of equipping that site are undeniable and very compelling. Organizations have decided repeatedly to select a backup solution specifically for cloud-based recovery capabilities, despite the high cost of switching.

Gaining the Cloud without the Switch

Switching backup solutions to gain cloud capabilities is not the only option. A few on-premises backup solutions are adding the cloud features that organizations need like cloud tiering and disaster recovery to the cloud. A cloud-enabled on-premises solution provides the organization with the best of both worlds, the enterprise-class data protection they’ve become accustomed to and the cloud capacities they need. On-premises protection is always a top priority, so the organization needs to push their vendors to deliver improved cloud support, or they need to look for new solutions that not only provide cloud capabilities but also provide robust on-premises support.

To learn more about adding cloud capabilities to existing on-premises data protection solutions join Storage Switzerland, Veeam and KeepItSafe for our on demand webinar “Understanding the 5 Most Common Oversights in a DRaaS Strategy”. All registrants receive a free copy of Storage Switzerland’s latest white paper “The Hidden Costs of DRaaS and How to Avoid Them”.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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