Server Data Protection - Cost Saving Tips

April 11, 2011 by Priya Khopade

Online data backup and recovery services are uniquely suited to address server data protection: service is completely automated, off-loading IT personnel to allow them to become better aligned with business goals, immediate backup of server data to offsite location, and leveraging the vendor’s infrastructure and expertise. The sections below detail the cost efficiencies of an online data protection service.

No software licensing costs
In the SaaS model, a monthly service fee is charged for each server protected—rather than the capital cost of acquiring software licenses for specific servers. Some online services include the protection of a wide variety of platforms, email and databases in their subscription.
However, as with licensed software for tape backup, some online service providers also charge separately for agents and plug-ins, (e.g., for open file support).

Savings in implementation, maintenance and technical support
There are no costs for implementing SaaS data protection solutions, aside from a company’s time in making decisions regarding which types of files to back up, how often they should automatically be backed up and how long they should be retained. Costs of managing the life cycle of the backup and recovery software used in the service (fixes, upgrades) are borne by the service provider, rather than its customers.
It is also worth noting that there are additional benefits in end-user uptime in that most online backup and recovery services are engineered to minimize performance hits during backup due to use of snapshots, filters and delta engines.

No backup hardware, maintenance and media costs
There is no hardware cost involved in online backup and recovery services (unless you elect an optional additional local appliance for even faster automatic recovery). The service provider bears the cost of the storage devices and infrastructure, now and in the future, as its customers grow. Storage fees for your backup data (per your backup schedule and data retention rules) are included in the monthly subscription fee. Service providers are incented to seek increasingly less expensive forms of storage (e.g., cloud storage) to keep their own — and their customers’ — costs low. Economies of scale are also passed on to customers in the form of lower, more competitive rates.

Labor savings with online server backup and recovery
Labor estimates and rates: The monthly subscription fee for the level of service and amount of storage that fits your requirements typically includes 24/7 technical support by staff specializing in backup and recovery—many (though not all) service providers offer Service Level Agreements that ensure successful recovery.However, data on backup tapes is often unrecoverable.
Independent analysts confirm that over 50% of all recoveries will fail because of errors in the backup process. Unlike the laborious task of tracking errors in tape-based backups, online services provide automatic detection of problems at any stage of backup or recovery. Service provider staff initiate corrective action and proactively notify customers (e.g., through email alerts). A web-based management portal allows customers to manage and monitor the entire backup and recovery process and audit users anywhere and anytime.

Number of servers protected: As noted previously, most online data protection services will charge per server protected—but they also offer discounts as the amount of storage of centralized backup data increases.

Server migration costs: An online data protection service that includes full system backup, in addition to data backup, reduces the time required to migrate user systems from hours to minutes. This is an important feature to consider in evaluating an online service provider—many service providers backup and restore data only, not full systems. A conservative estimate of 50 percent savings over current methods of computer migration would be reasonable.

No offsite backup tape pickup, storage and maintenance costs
With automatic, immediate backup to an offsite, highly secure location, there is no additional cost to transport data offsite. In addition, online service providers typically use the highest security possible with encryption in transit, storage and retrieval.
However, it is important to scrutinize the physical security of the data centers of the service provider (just as it is with a tape vaulting company). The monthly subscription fee should include a high level security rating and be mirrored to a second location.

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