Cloud for backup is a hot topic right now and it certainly seems attractive. But things are not always as they seem. Vendors promise rock-bottom prices and a pay-as-you-go model that will mitigate the costs. As attractive as those pennies-per-gigabyte prices may seem, it’s critical to dig deeper into where the cloud will save—and where it will cost—over the long-term.
For our new cloud backup project blueprint — Create a Game Plan to Implement Cloud Backup the Right Way – we spoke with implementers who had very different takes on the cost savings potential of cloud backup. A CTO for an archdiocese, for example, noted that by moving to a cloud provider he was able to exceed expectations for recovery point and recovery time objectives while saving money in the process. An IT manager for a global professional association anticipated an astonishing savings of 50-75% on the TCO of his backup as a result of moving to the cloud.
The above results must come with the standard disclaimer “results not typical.” A third client, with an international marketing firm, had a different story for us. He said that after crunching the numbers cloud backup just didn’t make sense. He didn’t see compelling savings in the cloud and, in fact, believed the cloud would come in at a higher cost than the on-premises solutions he was considering.
So what gives?
Our first two examples were small shops with limited staff and little room in the budget. They didn’t have a lot of data to backup, and the cloud offered them benefits that would have otherwise over-extended them financially. One was able to use the cloud as an off-site disaster recovery tier, something he would have been unable to build on his own. The other calculated that he would be able to cut the cost of renting a local datacenter and transporting tapes and turn the savings into upgrading his network pipe—something that had benefits across IT.
Our third example is a mature international organization with a significant volume of data to move. He calculated that while the cloud might reduce his up-front costs, those costs didn’t go away altogether. Rather, they were re-distributed across the life of his contract.
As attractive as those pennies-per-gigabyte storage costs are, it is critical to consider all the pieces over the long term. While the cloud can help you avoid purchasing a new storage array, it’s unlikely you will get away without any capital expenditure at all. You also have to factor in network upgrades as well the costs of training, migration, and getting your security protocols up to snuff.
Essentially, when deciding whether or not to go the cloud, you will face two major deltas that should play a big role in your decision. The first is the gap between the CAPEX costs of each solution. For some organizations, avoiding a significant capital expenditure might justify a larger TCO over the long term. They’re able to secure an ongoing budget for backup but any new expenditures take a lot more work to get approved. Other organizations, though, need to take a look at the long term.
That’s where the second delta comes into play. The TCO gap over a four- or five-year term can make a big difference to your organization. Your cloud costs may be minuscule now, but it is quite possible that the cost of cloud storage outstrips your on-premises solution. Remember, with a cloud model you’re paying for that gigabyte of data each and every month. And don’t forget about the cost of bringing that data back if you’re ever unlucky enough to be in a true disaster recovery scenario.
It sounds complicated because it is. Luckily, Info-Tech is here to help. We’re now offering a Guided Implementation on Create a Game Plan to Implement Cloud Backup the Right Way. If you want to talk cloud backup with one of our analysts and want to make sure you’ve considered all the angles, get in touch with us at GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com or give us a call at 1-866-670-8889.