By Howard Rubin, Product Marketing Manager, Backup and Recovery Systems
- Sunshine on a cloudy day
How appropriate a title this is for my blog! I planned to work at home today to focus on writing this blog about backup to the cloud. As I look out my window, I see a sky full of clouds, yet sunshine reflects down onto the start of the colorful fall foliage in my yard. After a quick step out my front door I immediately gaze up to the sun and cloudy skies and notice that everything appears black and white. I think to myself, how ironic this is, because nothing about moving IT resources, business practices or applications to the cloud really is a black and white decision.
Enterprise IT departments today are dealing with the explosion of Big Data on many levels. Along with this explosion come the challenges of having to backup and quickly restore that data, should a failure occur. According to a Forrester Research report, if your organization is like most, you’re probably dealing with IT budget issues. Almost three-quarters of IT budgets – 73% on average – goes to maintain existing legacy systems, both infrastructure and applications–only 27% is spent helping advance the company to be more competitive, become more intimate with its customers, and gain a competitive advantage. Combine that with a projected data deluge of 44X this decade and it’s obvious that this situation is putting a strain on backup windows, storage costs and management.
Hiring isn’t an option either. According to a survey done by Enterprise Strategy Group last year, almost half of IT enterprise organizations expect flat growth of IT budgets while data continues to grow. These IT departments need to figure out how to do even more with less. And even worse, according to this same ESG report, about 14% of those enterprises foresee a reduction in staff headcount if these budgets cannot get under control.
So, what do you do? Should your organization stay the course and continue down the same path resulting in sufficient cost and people cutting just to keep your head above water? Or should you consider some type of cloud or hybrid cloud deployment that potentially could allow you to support the SLA operations within your current IT budget? And do it without impacting personnel. Here’s the good news. Adoption of a cloud strategy would allow you to support the increasing workloads within your budget constraints and give you the ability to shift from a CAPEX to OPEX model. If I was standing in those shoes, I would definitely take a concentrated look at many of the cloud options being marketed today. The answer isn’t black and white, but it’s a proven way to succeed when traditional CAPEX models are showing more red in your budget.
I’d be surprised if your company hasn’t already leveraged some aspect of cloud computing. Is ADP handling your payroll? Maybe your sales management is leveraging Salesforce.com or perhaps your MS Exchange is hosted by an outsourcer such as Rackspace.com? These are all cloud services that SMBs to multi-billion dollar enterprises leverage every day. In a recent study by Wakefield Research, 54% of Americans claim to never use cloud computing. However, 95% of this group actually does use the cloud. If your organization is already leveraging similar services, then Backup as a Service (BaaS) is just another step in your IT Transformation journey to the Cloud.
So what’s the right cloud Backup and Recovery option for your organization? It seems like there are so many private, public and hybrid cloud options out there to choose from, right? Amazon Web Services, with all its colorful flavors like Glacier and EC2 and EBS…oh my! The confusing part is that they all offer to solve your data storage and backup problems by allowing you to store and recover your data in the event of a disaster. The answer should be black and white, while in reality it’s not.
While there’s a lot of talk about cloud storage and being able to restore, a lot of confusion exists over the differences. All cloud storage offerings are not created equal. Popular services, such as those from Amazon, allow you to cheaply store data and read it back, however there’s a fundamental difference between Storage as a Service (StaaS) and BaaS. Read carefully: all BaaS is storage, but not all StaaS is BaaS. Quick data recovery is the key difference. Without a quick recovery plan or committed SLA, you’re at the mercy of the cloud provider to get you back online as quickly as they can. BaaS always has a quick restore/recovery SLA, resulting in the savings of tens of thousands of dollars to a business in time of need.
A more colorful outlook on the horizon
So, what should you do when you find no easy solution to the IT budget dilemma you’ve been dealt? Why not jump on the cloud bandwagon and start living on “Cloud 9,” as the saying goes? As I mentioned earlier, cloud adoption for IT business practices have been a proven method for organizations dealing with flat or reduced IT budgets. While the decision isn’t easy, nor is it black and white, a corporate decision to adopt a private, hybrid or public cloud strategy can deliver a more colorful outlook than one that shows only red in your bottom line today.