Visibility into Backup Data Impacts Cloud Service Provider Costs

Estimating the real costs of cloud backup and recovery remains perhaps the most bewildering aspect of adopting cloud services. Some, such as a model built by Unitrends and available on its website, attempt to do by examining the costs of three different cloud service providers: AWS , Microsoft Azure, and Unitrends Forever Cloud.

Its model sticks to the basics of backup and recovery and it bases its calculations on the assumptions that companies will store backup data in the cloud and retrieve it for on-premises recoveries. It only calculates costs associated with data storage and retrieval. It also does not attempt to estimate any variables or subjective charges, such as compute charges or service fees, associated with a recovery in the cloud service provider’s cloud.

However, it does make one assumption when comparing costs. It attempts to factor in the impact that technologies such as compression and deduplication have on total storage costs.

General purpose cloud service providers such as AWS and Azure make few or no provisions to efficiently store data or optimize data storage. These general purpose cloud service providers treat backup data the same as the rest of the data that they store. Further, it is unlikely they will ever seek visibility into backup data in the future. Visibility or insight into client data violates one of their basic tenets of hosting data in their respective clouds.

In this regard, purpose-built cloud service providers have a distinct advantage over general purpose cloud service providers when storing backup data. Purpose-built cloud service providers have visibility into the backup data that they store. Through this data insight, they can store data more efficiently because they can apply algorithms such as compression and deduplication to it to reduce and optimize data stores.

While data reduction rates vary, companies can realistically expect to reduce their backup data stores to achieve data reduction rates of at least 7:1. Further, the longer companies retain their backup data in the cloud, the better their data reduction ratios generally become with ratios of 13:1 – 20:1 common for backup data retained at least six months.

When one starts factoring in those data reduction ratios, the costs of storing backup data with purpose-built cloud service providers may well end up being a fraction of the storage costs that one will incur using a general purpose cloud service provider. Even though the cost per GB is roughly the same for each type of cloud service provider, organizations will store much less data using a purpose-built cloud service provider over time resulting in much lower recurring storage costs on monthly basis.


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