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Cloud Backup & Disaster Recovery
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January 19, 2012

Minimizing Disaster Recovery Costs With Cloud Backup

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CostIn acquiring and selecting a backup solution, cost is, of course, an important concern. Modern disaster recovery and cloud backup solutions offer some interesting options when you consider all the costs of implementing full offsite data protection with reasonable disaster recovery times. Cloud backup costs can be lower than more traditional options.
 
Different approaches to backup — cloud, on-site, and tape/removable media — can vary significantly, cost-wise. Plus you have to consider factors like your requirements for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery.
 
Here are some things to consider when selecting a backup solution:
 

The Challenges and Concerns of Tape

Tape solutions have a lot of initial and recurring expenses, notably:
 

  • Tape-only solutions require local tape drives and, depending on how many tapes a backup requires, an automated multi-tape system. As your data volume grows, and tape technology evolves, you are likely to need to replace your tape hardware periodically to provide faster speeds and higher capacities.
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  • Because tapes wear out, you need a continually-refreshed library of tapes, and you’re likely to need more tapes as the volume of your data increases.
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  • Tape backups require on-site IT to mount or swap tapes, and prepare them for shipment off-site. Any tapes being kept on site need to be stored in an environmentally stable, secure container.
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  • You need an offsite tape storage service, media, and possibly also tape automation equipment. Plus you need a trusted courier service to pick up and deliver tapes. Third-parties can provide all this — but it all adds to the costs of disaster recovery.
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  • One of the biggest disaster recovery costs with tape backup is time. The time it takes to restore from tape represents downtime and possible loss of business, even if there’s no additional itemized costs — to request tapes, have them be found and couriered back to your site, and perform the restore. If multiple tapes are needed, this will take even more time and money.
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  • Tapes that are removed from use must be recycled or disposed of responsibly, not just in terms of environmental concerns, but also ensuring that data has been “scrubbed” so it cannot be retrieved by unauthorized parties.

 

Disk, Disk-to-Disk, Disk-to-Tape

Like tape, disk-based backups require investments in on-premises gear, space, power (and cooling).
 
If you want disk backups to go off-site, they, like tape, require having a library of removable disks or a set of transportable disk devices, plus provisioning secure transport and storage; or replication software plus networking gear, plus storage systems or a managed storage provider at the other end.
 
If you want these offsite disk backups to provide disaster recovery, you’ll need application software, plus hardware. Fortunately, server virtualization has made this simpler and less expensive than in the past, when you had to maintain physical duplicates of your main hardware environments.
 

Costs of Non-Cloud Solutions in General

All on-premises backup — like tape, disk or a combination — have a power, cooling and space footprint, along with software licensing, and service agreements. Plus you need IT time to plan, purchase and deploy solutions; monitor ongoing performance and maintenance; track capacity requirements; and buy additional gear and media as needed.
 
Similarly, off-site solutions require data centers — owned, or service facilities — to house backups. These, in turn, have to provide physical and cyber security; be staffed to respond to restore queries; and be administered.
 
A blended disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) solution can provide local recoveries faster than a tape-only one, but the cost premium is substantial, close to doing both tape-only and disk-to-disk.
 

Cloud Backups Offer Direct, Indirect Cost Advantages

 
In short, traditional on-premise and offsite tape/disk-based backups require significant investments of both time and money. Minimize your direct and indirect disaster recovery costs with cloud backup.
 
Zetta’s online backup service, is all-inclusive and charges only for storage footprint.
 

  • There are no appliances to buy, administer and maintain; no media to wrangle; no software fees; no physical space, power or cooling footprint.
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  • Zetta does not charge for bandwidth (you will only need Internet connectivity to your site — which you need anyway), nor for IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second).
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  • Your company does not have to pay for a secondary data center to house the remote data.
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  • No “pre-buying” of capacity. As your backup footprint scales, so does your Zetta service — automatically, not requiring your IT staff to monitor and request more capacity.
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  • No costs for protracted downtime. With Zetta, data recovery is instantaneous. Simply mount the data that’s at Zetta and begin running again. No waiting for tapes or disk shipments or even copying the data back.

 
Not all cloud backup solutions cost the same — or offer the same capabilities. Once you understand how cloud solutions differ in price and methodology from traditional premises and off-site backup solutions, the next steps will be to understand the possible start-up, ongoing and per-incident charges for cloud backup — and how to compare the TCO of cloud backup against the ROI — the cost versus the value, compared with the more limited benefits of traditional backups.
 
For more information on cloud backup and to explore some of the other decision criteria, visit the Zetta Cloud Backup decision center.
 

Zetta.net is an enterprise-grade cloud and local backup, archiving, and disaster recovery solution for small- and midsize businesses, MSPs, and VARs.
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