By JP Blaho
Today, businesses must deal with expanding data volumes, the added complexity of highly virtualized IT environments, and a growing number of regulations and laws regarding data preservation and retention.
These factors make data backup more complex, time-consuming and critical than ever before. As a result, the staff time required and cost to perform backups are both increasing.
With the lingering tough economic conditions, tight IT budgets and IT staffs being asked to do with fewer resources, it is time to take a closer look at backup operations and evaluate available options. What many businesses will find is that a managed service approach, which was perhaps dismissed in the past as being too costly, might be the best choice today. The reason: There are significant hidden costs associated with their in-house backup operations. And these costs are increasing as data volumes and retention regulations grow.
Let’s take a look at some of the in-house backup costs that are often overlooked or under-estimated:
Businesses must incur the expense of developing and testing backup strategies, selecting and deploying solutions and training staff in backup technology and procedures. And they need to pay to have staff available around the clock to conduct backup operations and respond to problems.
As data volumes grow, more backup hardware must be added. Beyond the CAPEX costs to acquire the additional hardware, there are many operational costs to consider. More data means more backup devices to manage and maintain and longer backup run times.
Then there are software costs. Most backup software vendors charge for licenses based on capacity. Several industry studies have found that data volumes for organizations tend to grow by 20 to 40 percent year over year. So when evaluating the costs of in-house backup, businesses must include annual increases for backup software license fees. Beyond licensing fees, business must pay ongoing annual maintenance fees for the backup software. These fees increase with additional capacity.
Today, many businesses use deduplication technology to help rein in the volume of data that must be stored and backed up. While deduplication reduces storage requirements significantly and therefore slashes overall storage costs, deduplication software nonetheless comes with its own up-front costs, including the initial software license cost. As with the backup software itself, deduplication software vendors require businesses to pay more for software licenses as storage requirements increase. And deduplication software vendors require ongoing software maintenance fees.
All of these hidden costs can add up. And most of them are eliminated or reduced when using a managed backup service.
In fact, there are many advantages to using a managed service for backup. To start, CAPEX costs for backup equipment are eliminated. OPEX costs of developing a backup plan, training, and operating the equipment and running the operations are eliminated or greatly reduced, compared to performing the same tasks in-house.
Rather than buying and operating a system based on the anticipated needs for the next three years, a managed backup service lets businesses pay for the backup capacity they need today, and add capacity as needs grow over time.
Additionally, using a managed service frees up data center space; the facilities and electricity charges to power and cool backup equipment are passed on to the provider. Further, a suitably selected provider can provide the expertise needed to comply with new data retention regulations or simply ensure data is preserved for any future eDiscovery efforts.
Learn more about SunGard Backup and Replication services.