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Two companies — one belonging to John and the other to Steven — both back up 10 terabytes of data. John’s company recovers its entire dataset often, perhaps due to ageing infrastructure or inefficient processes, but Steven’s company hardly ever recovers, and when it does, it only needs to recover one file. Yet John and Steven are paying the same amount for their backups. How is this fair?
A paradigm shift is underway in the backup and recovery industry as data volumes grow exponentially, companies become comfortable with cloud storage and CIOs realise that it may not be feasible to manage all this in-house.
According to a recent EMC report, the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes. While backup costs are halving every year, prices are not dropping fast enough to match this rate of data growth and recovery will soon become unaffordable for many organisations.
Self-provisioning versus hosting
Businesses are moving away from tape backup, which can be unreliable and expensive, and are more comfortable with storing their data in the cloud – especially as security improves.
As data volumes grow, it becomes challenging for businesses to manage their own backup and recovery requirements. The cost of infrastructure, skills, maintenance and storage can be exorbitant, while the task itself diverts attention from the core business.
Service providers, on the other hand, are experienced in maintaining and supporting backup infrastructure. They can assist organisations with implementing the required technology and provide them with the tools they need to manage their backups.
Organisations can also leverage the economy of scale offered by service providers who have access to massive storage vaults and can provision space in their data centres at lower cost – and more securely – than if the client were to manage that themselves.
While it may be relatively easy to back up data, the real value lies in the ability to restore lost or compromised data in an environment that it can actually be used – and within agreed upon timeframes. A bank, for example, cannot afford to be offline for much longer than 10 minutes, nor can it afford to lose a single transaction.
Evolving pricing paradigms
This service comes at an ever-increasing premium.
Current backup and recovery pricing models charge based on the amount of data that needs to be protected, increasing with every additional gigabyte of data that needs to be stored. Growing data volumes make this model unsustainable as it will drive pricing beyond available budgets, especially as vendors such as Microsoft move more of their services into the cloud.
Technology has enabled fairer pricing models, such as the Recovery Licence Model (RLM), which re-focuses on the amount of data recovered rather than that which is backed up. This means users can protect an unlimited amount of data without pricing penalties. Instead, they pay based on the data that is important enough to recover in the event of disaster.
By using the Recovery Licence Model, Steven can save up to 70% on his existing backup costs. He can essentially decide his own recovery costs, giving him more control even as organisation data accelerates.
It also makes business and financial sense when one considers that most companies recover less than 10% of their data annually.
Bottom line: If they recover less, they pay less and costs stay low even as data volumes rise.
With some players predicting an explosion of Internet-connected devices over the coming years – and the resulting data they will produce – businesses will need to review their backup and recovery options, especially if they need to do more with less.