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Posts Tagged ‘TCO’

Courtenay Troxel

June 14, 2012

Affordable Data Disaster Recovery: Tape, Replication and Cloud

Courtenay is a Channel Marketing Strategist at

Disaster Recovery Lemons
The 3 main options that a medium sized company has when building a data disaster recovery strategy are:
1. Physically moving tapes or drives offsite.
2. Replicating backup data between offices or to an offsite co-lo data center
3. DR-as-a-service from the cloud

This post will address the best situations for each solution, the disadvantages, and the always crucial – costs of each.

1. Physically moving tapes or drives offsite.

As discussed in yesterday”™s post, taking tape backups offsite is the original data disaster recovery plan. It still works, and most companies have tape equipment they can use for DR.
The best situation for a tape-based DR strategy is when a company”™s RTO can be comfortably in the 2-5 day range. A retail business or a school that will be closed after a natural disaster, fire, or major theft is an example of an organization that can comfortably leverage offsite tape backups for DR.
The main disadvantage of tape-based DR is in day-to-day operations. The amount of effort it takes to replace a single accidentally deleted file or folder means that some user files simply go unrecovered.
The cost of maintaining a tape DR plan is low when you consider that the hardware has already been paid for, but it also creeps up over time. For example, it costs about $5,225 a year for weekly tape pick-up and drop-off according to an analysis we did using a sample environment with 2TB and 20 endpoints.

2. Replicating backup data between offices or to an offsite co-lo data center.

This is a popular choice for IT directors who have multiple offices with IT assets in each. There”™s a lot of flexibility for “roll-your-own” solutions with this approach, and it”™s even possible to use existing hardware this way also. There are plenty of backup software options that will let you use old fileservers as a backup target and then replicate the backup server in the main office to one in a remote office.
The key benefit is replication. In case of a disaster in the main office, you can VPN into the remote backup server and start to recover. This works just as well for production server crashes in the main office and helping users with their accidentally deleted folders.
The costs of this solution vary widely. If you happen to have multiple offices with existing IT assets then, just like above, it”™s possible to get disaster recovery ready with just a few extra licenses for the backup software. However, if you don”™t have a remote office, renting rack space in a local co-lo data center can get very expensive with the space, power, and management fees.
Alternatively, buying multiple backup appliances for different offices to replicate between can be a way to get strong data protection. Over a few TB, the price of multiple appliances starts to get pretty high, but some CFOs prefer a big up-front cost they can amortize, rather than a regular monthly bill.

3. DR-as-a-Service from the cloud.

A cloud, or online, data disaster recovery strategy has the most advantages for small IT teams with over 1TB of backup data that don”™t have time manage multiple data centers or tape rotation schedules. Double that for companies that have remote offices without their own IT assets.
Obviously, there are a ton of different cloud backup and storage vendors, but to really use the cloud for DR the data has to be a replica of your live file system in its native format. Having a replica file system lets end users recover their own individual files over the web, lets IT recover to dissimilar hardware, and have complete control over which files and databases are restored first.
The costs for cloud data disaster recovery are mostly driven by the size of data being protected and the level of security and support available. For example, Zetta costs $225 a month to replicate 500GB of data in the cloud. Since we have enterprise-grade security infrastructure, SSAE-16 audited service processes, and 24×7 U.S. based support, we cost more than using a backup software with one of the big cloud storage providers.
It can be hard to strike a balance between recoverability performance and cost for a DR solution. Hit us up if you want to bounce some ideas off of our backup specialists. If your environment isn”™t a fit for our service we”™ll help you find what is. If your environment is a fit for our service, we”™ll get your data protected in a matter of minutes.

Courtenay Troxel

April 03, 2012

Tape Backup TCO: Shipping and Handling is Extra, As Always

Courtenay is a Channel Marketing Strategist at

Tape Backup Needs Trucks
Another instance of data loss due to tape backup was in the media this weekend, with the State of California as the victim. That makes today a good time to rethink the risks and costs associated with using tape for offsite backup. To really understand the total cost of ownership for tape-based offsite backup it”™s important to consider the offsiting costs themselves, in addition to the hardware, software, and support costs.
In this Offsite Backup TCO calculator, where the default example datacenter environment has 20 servers and 2TB of data, using either a D2T or D2D2T architecture will run about $5,200 in offsiting costs for 1 year, growing to $20,000 over 3 years as more tapes are added to the storage vault.
Of course, your environment will be different, so please go ahead and use the TCO calculator to generate a custom report and let us know how accurate it is in the comments.
The breakdown of these costs for the example environment includes:
– $60.00 a week for tape pickup x 52 weeks
– $250.00 charge per emergency tape drop off, needed once a quarter
– $0.87 in monthly tape slot fees, which grow from $13 a month to $184 the first year, depending on the tape retention policy of your organization.
Continuing with the 20 server and 2TB example environment case, the TCO of 1 year of D2T runs about $56,000, so the offsiting costs represent less than 10% of the total cost. This sounds like a reasonable proportion, until you consider that the overall costs are 430% higher than an enterprise-grade online backup and recovery service like Zetta.
The cost delta is worrying, as is the tendency of tapes to go missing, break, or become corrupted. Having your data “fall off the back of a truck“ is a gut wrenching experience. The key takeaway from this data loss incident and cost analysis is that paying a premium to send critical data out to a hectic world doesn”™t make as much sense as saving money while backing it up peacefully in the cloud.

May 28, 2010

Hosting Primary, Unstructured Enterprise Data in the Cloud – Part 9: Provides Good Investment Value

Chris Schin, VP Products, is responsible for coordinating all Zetta product-related initiatives including product strategy, direction, and marketing, as well as business model and go-to-market process definition. Prior to joining Zetta, Chris was acting GM and Senior Director for Symantec Protection Network, Symantec's Software as a Service platform.

Hi — this post completes my blog series outlining the design concepts behind an enterprise-class storage service suitable for hosting not just secondary but even primary enterprise data.

Here is an outline of this series and hyperlinks to previous posts:

•   Introduction
•   Accessed like traditional storage
•   Easy to use enterprise features
•   Comprehensive data integrity/protection
•   Data security/privacy
•   Continuous availability
•   Non-blocking performance
•   Administrative transparency and control
•   Provides good investment value

This last post is more business-focused and less product-focused, and concerns the need for such a service to provide good investment value to customers.

Throughout this series, I have attempted to touch on the various technical concepts and requirements that need to be fulfilled before an IT person will trust his data to a storage service; but if the service isn’t priced to make good business sense, it won’t work for our customers no matter how well it is designed.

Storage Ownership Costs Graph

When considering “good value” in this context, it is imperative to think holistically about what a storage service provider is providing to its customers, since it is far more than just storage capacity. Using an enterprise storage service should free an IT professional from having to do all of the following:

•   Acquire storage capacity
•   Configure file system software
•   Design, provision and configure the specific solution (all done instantly)
•   Obtain data center resources (space, power, cooling, etc)
•   Provision networking infrastructure and bandwidth
•   Protect the data (i.e. backup)
•   Secure the data (i.e. encryption)
•   Administer and manage the solution 24×7
•   Support storage users, 24×7


The customers we have who have done serious analysis on their storage costs on a per-gigabyte, per-month basis have told us that their costs range from $1.00 to over $3.00 per month per gigabyte. This may not seem intuitive in a world where capital outlay for capacity can be as low as $1.00/GB, but when all the other costs are factored in, storage gets much more expensive to do yourself. Try some comparisons using the Zetta TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Calculator.


Traditional Storage Ownership Costs
Tier 1 $3.50/GB per month
Tier 2 $1.25/GB per month
Tier 3 $1.00/GB per month

Compare those figures to the typical cost of a storage service, measured usually at $.15 to $.25 per gigabyte per month, and you can instantly see that a storage service provides solid investment value reducing costs by as much as five to 10 times!

And there can be many other, less-immediately-obvious (but no less tangible) values to using an enterprise storage service provider, including:

•   Administrator opportunity cost savings — time is now freed up to work on things that really impact the business, not managing disk rebuilds
•   Future proofing — the need to upgrade your infrastructure every 3-5 years has now been offloaded to the service provider — no more data migrations!
•   Maintenance costs — no more maintenance contracts to your hardware and software vendors
•   No re-coding/re-architecting to use the service — if a service has been built for an enterprise, with standard access protocol support, then you can onload your data — and offload your data — without any changes to your existing infrastructure.


Reflecting back over the entire list of enterprise requirements, when Zetta started this adventure at the end of 2007, it was with the goal of providing enterprise IT professionals with a storage service designed for their primary storage needs. The service we have in market today meets the requirements that IT people told us they would need in such a service. I invite you to explore further and see the benefits that other enterprise IT professionals are already enjoying at

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