Beware the Big Bang

Written by Colin Marrs on 15 July 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

A gradual move to the cloud is the best option for most organisations, according to Paul Evans.

Backup and storage providers fully understand the difficulty IT professionals can experience when trying to demonstrate to a finance director the value of an online backup solution, particularly when comparing it to a traditional in-house regime.

It is important to emphasise the benefits of not having to invest in media / hardware support or replacement infrastructure every three to four years.

Other costs that are often overlooked include the operating costs of management time, testing the backups, monitoring the backup platform, software maintenance, cooling and powering.

Most importantly, the savings in IT resource can be vast, as can unpredictable one-off CAPEX investments to meet an expanding organisation’s growing data demands.
 
One facet that is ignored by many online backup providers is the up-front cost that customers are expected to absorb to move their entire data estate to the cloud.

Rather than work with customers to build a commercially viable pricing model, many providers will simply price, based on the data currently backed up and stored on traditional media.
 
On larger volumes of data, this can produce significant costs that in many instances will run in conjunction with existing budgets.

Hence, a customer will have to fully invest in a new online backup solution, effectively duplicating costs as existing hardware and infrastructure slowly fulfils the anticipated life-cycle.
 
Suppliers who want to build long standing relationships, rather than achieve quick revenue wins, will encourage their customers to migrate data to the cloud on a gradual basis.

This step-by-step approach will be dictated by the volume and nature of data, be that business critical, through to archive data.

This results in a scale up of services, meeting operational requirements and a building of trust with the new supplier and service, whilst offering an acceptable and predictable cost model.
 
This can be illustrated by a company who recently moved their data to the cloud.

A large Blue Chip media organisation with over 25TBs of data were struggling to meet the ever growing capacity demands.

To ensure data backups could be increased or decreased at very short notice, they decided to move their data to an online backup service.

Rather than move the full estate immediately, they have taken a staggered approach, starting with 5TB of critical data and then gradually adding 2 - 3 TB each month over a 12 month period.
 
Much of this process is automated, limiting the impact on an already stretched IT team.

More importantly, based on a “pay as you go model” where by the organisation are only charged for the data stored on in the cloud, this has also reduced costs, and ensured the existing infrastructure is still utilised, where required, or re-provisioned where possible thus saving money.
 
The company have benefited from a market-leading backup and DR solution with two full copies of their data offsite and supported by a 24/7/365 UK based help desk, offering unparalleled protection of their business-critical data, while at the same time ensuring that existing hardware is still utilised for their archive data.
 
Essentially, organisations do not need to take a “Big Bang” approach to data migration.

IT Departments looking to move their data to the cloud, should seek out providers who will work with them to ensure that a measured implementation is adopted, with impact on daily operations and financial budgets kept to a minimum.

Paul Evans is managing director of Redstor

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