Deciphering Cloud Cost Economics: A Data Protection Perspective

Deciphering Cloud Cost Economics: A Data Protection Perspective

Cloud cost economics are complex and difficult to decipher. There is some truth behind the joke that one needs a PhD in order to decipher cloud billing. With this in mind, cost economics is the overall topic that we will explore in this blog, which is the last in a four-part series that discusses the tradeoffs between on- and off-premises data protection.

From a cost perspective, the biggest draw for off-premises is typically the ability to bypass large capex purchases for both hardware infrastructure and software licenses. Of course, there are some exceptions in some instances, but the need is at least mitigated.

Beyond allowing the organization to move to an opex model, the cloud offers scalability and flexibility. Compute and storage resources can be spun up and down dynamically as business requirements evolve. This is simply not possible on-premises, due to the staff resources and capex that would be required. It is because of the scalability and flexibility that the cloud offers a potentially great option for disaster recovery – which we touched on in the previous blog in this series, which covered security and cyber-resiliency tradeoffs between on- and off-premises data protection environments.

Of course, it is important to remember that data has gravity and it is difficult to move once stored, so enterprises may still need to live with their storage architecture decisions for a long time in the cloud, just like on-premises. With that in mind, it is important to utilize the lowest-cost tier of storage that meets requirements in the cloud, and to avoid storing redundant or obsolete data. This is not easy considering the effects of shadow IT and data sprawl, and how difficult it is to obtain visibility across multi-hybrid cloud environments. Our previously published Technical Insight report, Data Protection Cost Considerations, touches on these and other key data protection-related cost factors, such as software licensing, in more detail.

Also contributing to data gravity and murky cloud storage cost structures are data egress fees, which can very quickly become prohibitively expensive. When it comes to data protection, this means potentially costly data recovery and migration operations, depending on the storage targets that the data is being moved from and to. To address this issue, some backup-as-a-service providers include egress fees as a part of their pricing, or architect their offering to help avoid data egress.

We explored in the second blog in this series how migrating operations off-premises/to the cloud also is intended to reduce the hours that backup administrators spend on routine, day-to-day tasks. In turn, this should net cost savings. However, it is important for the enterprise to also bear in mind other new roles, such as cloud architects, that might become necessary.

The cost structure is just one of many complex considerations to decipher and consider when deciding if it is appropriate to migrate data protection operations to the cloud. This blog series breaks down efficiency of daily operations and security and cyber-resiliency – in addition to cost dynamics – because we find these areas to be the ones that are typically most impactful for IT teams when determining where to deploy their data protection implementations. However, each business is different and will have its own unique set of requirements to bear in mind and prioritize accordingly.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

How to Migrate Data Protection to the Cloud and Not Regret It

Streamlining Operations with Cloud Data Protection

Embracing Data Protection-as-a-Service Without Sacrificing Cyber-Resiliency


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