ESG's Jason Buffington discusses what to consider from a Data Protection perspective when looking at cloud storage solutions.
Hi, I'm Jason Buffington. I'm the principal analyst at ESG covering data protection. When organizations were asked why they were considering Cloud services for data protection, the first answer is the most obvious - secondary site, which makes sense for small and mid-sized organizations who don't otherwise have a secondary site but also for enterprises who don't want to maintain theirs. Some are looking for better or more agile technology outcomes like better recovery capabilities. Then, among the top five responses three were economic perceptions: believed cheaper than in house solutions, potential to reduce on prem solution components, free up labor. I call all three of those perceptions or presumptions not promises, because each of them greatly depend on which type of Cloud based data protection capabilities that you're looking for and which vendor or provider you end up using. I promise the Cloud is not universally cheaper nor does it always reduce hardware or software or labor. Some Clouds certainly can deliver all of those, but the real power of Cloud services is in agility, not always in economics.
One of the easy arguments on how to look at Cloud retention is anticipated use. Here we see in gold that most organizations have maximum retention requirements in the 6 to 10 or the 11 or more year range while the blue shows that 64% of organizations intend to keep their data in a Cloud for 3 years or less. If the Cloud was just universally cheaper, why would they do that? Because Clouds are not universally cheaper. In fact, the longer the retention requirement coupled with regulatory and portability concerns, tape almost always wins that debate. That said, there are a lot of things that you can do with a warm copy of data in a Cloud that you can not do with a cold copy of data in a cartridge including BCDR, analytics and reporting, Test Dev, patch and migration planning, etc. All of those scenarios are with data that's six months to two years old.
Stepping back for a minute, Cloud is also not a universal tape killer. Frankly, there is not a likely single hero scenario in Cloud powered data protection. Some folks just need Cloud storage. Others want backup services. Others want to protect hosted VMs. Others need to protect SaaS. Frankly, my favorite is disaster recovery as a service.
The good news is that each of the Cloud data protection categories is growing in adoption and in interest. The blue shows that backup as a service and DR as a service are both currently more prevalent than Cloud storage used in data protection. But, I think the bigger story is when you add the blue - those are folks currently using, plus the gold - not currently using but planning to, plus the green - not yet in plan but really interested. There's a lot of interest. In fact, only one in four organizations is averse to Cloud services being part of their data protection strategy. When three out of four organizations are interested in something, in anything, that's the definition of mainstream today.
Looking at the difference between backup as a service as a turnkey type offering versus storage as a service used for data protection where you augment your existing backup solution with Cloud storage, we asked folks that chose one side or the other. Among those who chose a backup service over just adding Cloud storage to their existing backup solution, some believe it'll be cheaper. They can reduce their hardware and software. They can repurpose staff. OpEx versus CapEx. In total, 67% of the argument is hinged on economics combined with 33% dissatisfaction with the existing backup solution - they perceive it as more reliable, previous solution you're replacing anyway, new solution protects workloads, the other one didn't.
Let's look at the other side of the argument. Let's look at why did those other folks choose Cloud based storage for their existing solution over switching to a backup service. This time we see 66% satisfied or satisfied enough with their existing solution - direct satisfaction, too much invested in the current solution, not wanting to recreate jobs and agents, etc. Meanwhile, 32% believe that adding Cloud storage will be cheaper for them than switching to a backup service. It's the same two arguments, right, which gives us a pretty straightforward decision tree. Are you happy with the backup software that you have? If not, adding Cloud storage is not going to make it much better. If you aren't satisfied with your current solution's reliability, protected workloads, whatever, then start by switching to another solution - maybe on prem, maybe a service.
Then, either way you'll then need to look at the economics of what really makes sense and cents for your org. Maybe you don't save any money in Cloud. Maybe your finance folks just want AppEx instead of CapEx even if the numbers were exactly the same or even if they were higher in the long term, and for some that's okay. Others need better capabilities or protection of new workloads or platforms, or they look for more agile recovery or secondary sites or additional expertise. There are lots of reasons to add Cloud services to your data protection strategy. If you look first at the why you're going to do it and then pick the right how that fits your environment, and only then are you ready to choose who the right partner or provider is for you.
I hope this was helpful. I'm Jason Buffington for ESG. Thanks for watching.