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Investing in infrastructure for backup — Does it make sense?

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As a growing share of organizations trust and embrace the cloud, why do we need to incur capital expenditure (capex) and operating expenditure (opex) costs on infrastructure specifically to manage data backup? Requirements for security, availability, resiliency, and management do not justify this old model of IT investment. All of these requirements can now be met far more elegantly —  and with greater scalability — by public cloud providers and their technology partners. Rigid purpose-built hardware appliances are offered as solutions that promise to save opex costs and manageability. However, the cost models for evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) fail to highlight the fact that these are nothing more than overprovisioned boxes in your data center with unused capacity and recurring servicing and upgrade costs.

“As more applications move to public cloud environments, confidence in their use will increase. The ecosystems required to support mission-critical enterprise use cases will expand, reinforcing the viability of public cloud services as a destination for mission-critical workloads.” – Gartner – Cloud Computing to Drive Digital Business

The other option that most of the on-premises backup vendors provide is a cloud solution as a bolt-on extension to their existing software and appliance solutions. Shockingly, these products only use the customer’s self-managed cloud account and make yet another copy of the data which the customer is billed for every month by their cloud provider. This typically gets overlooked in TCO analyses.

What other options are there?

Cloud Gateway (Hybrid Cloud) – Often used by legacy backup vendors, a cloud gateway is a hardware- or software-based appliance that links your on-site systems with cloud storage solutions.

  • Pros: A cloud gateway allays the fear that any failure of your on-prem hardware may mean losing data forever, as backup data is stored in a remote location.
  • Cons: All network traffic containing data to be backed up must pass through, and be translated by, the gateway. This device then becomes a bottleneck, both from a networking and a reliability standpoint; if the gateway fails, all access to the cloud fails. In addition, a hardware-based gateway has no facility for providing deduplication of data in the cloud — it actually sends more data than is necessary for secondary storage. As a result, your organization’s data can grow exponentially over time, and when you are paying by the gigabyte, these costs can multiply rapidly.

Hosted Solution (Cloud Colo) – Another common option is the hosted model, in which the cloud service provider essentially duplicates an on-prem architecture and hosts it in the cloud.

  • Pros: With a hosted appliance or software solution, you may have the familiarity that comes with understanding your own environment, which can reduce the learning curve for administrators and IT staff.
  • Cons: The hosted solution is not natively architected to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of a public cloud environment. This essentially places similar constraints on the hosted application as you would find when hosting a solution in your own data center. Solutions like these can be both expensive to build and expensive to manage, because the provider is no longer managing aggregated storage on its own systems. You’re now on the hook for storage costs that could grow exponentially because the application simply isn’t optimized for long-term public cloud storage.

Cloud-Native (SaaS) – A true cloud-native SaaS data protection solution is designed from the ground up to take advantage of the revolutionary advantages offered by the public cloud, including global deduplication, uptime guarantees, flexible computing availability, and automated tiered storage models.

  • Pros: This service option, built natively for existing public cloud service providers (e.g., AWS), provides multiple advantages for enterprises in search of greater efficiency, automation, and on-demand elasticity. It takes advantage of the native capabilities of the public cloud, such as storage, compute, and their efficiencies to create a well-integrated offering from the start. When more or less capacity is needed, the cloud scales up and down seamlessly to meet the changing demands of the business, without complex, cumbersome, and costly hardware and software procurement cycles. And, because it does not require a translation layer between older deployments and a cloud-like gateway appliance, it eliminates bottlenecks, boosting both performance and uptime. This cloud-native option also offers more versatility, allowing enterprises to use it as a convergence point for other important activities. It does not use cloud storage as the technological equivalent of a warehouse; rather, the data can be reused for many purposes — for eDiscovery, compliance, disaster recovery, and beyond.

Most importantly, the predictable subscription cost structure removes all the volatile and complex expenses of the other models. Instead, it uses a simple model in which you only pay for what you need. Other deployment models include maintenance fees, complex licensing costs, and variable resource-consumption expenses that vendors fail to include when they calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO).

The Druva Cloud Platform

Druva’s Data Management-as-a-Service approach ensures data availability and information governance across servers, endpoints, and cloud applications. Policies are created and centrally managed by IT with granular settings, such as which file types and locations to back up, how disaster recovery will occur, and the how to tier data for archiving in the cloud — all without the heavy burden of infrastructure. Druva delivers a 100% SaaS solution that brings together backup, archival, and disaster recovery features to harness the ease of use and scalability of the public cloud.

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By leveraging Druva’s next-generation cloud platform solutions for data protection, organizations can skip the hardware requirements, disk management, and cluster setup of legacy solutions. With Druva, organizations can manage all global data through a single pane of glass and take advantage of advanced data intelligence features to control risks and meet today’s compliance requirements.

To learn more about the advantages of the cloud over legacy hardware solutions access this executive brief: Choosing the Right Model for Enterprise Backup & Recovery

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