Why Cloud Makes Sense for Data Management
Today’s cloud landscape continues to offer new opportunities for organizations to deliver enterprise services in new and advantageous ways. In Four Simple Methodologies to Modernizing Your Data Management Strategy, we discussed the importance of leveraging solutions that have intentional, cloud native integrations. A cloud-based data management strategy has many advantages. Below, we will work to highlight the landscape, the base financial models, and how you can leverage the many available options.
Some of the cloud-based data management advantages to leveraging the cloud for your data management outcomes include the following:
Lower overall cost vs. tape or disk–based infrastructures
Building out a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for traditional architectures is an exercise that can easily be accomplished. If you’re willing to dedicate 30-60 minutes of your time to digging through your renewals and systems costs, we will gladly provide the templates required to build out your financial commitments.
In most cases, businesses rarely have a true picture of the operating costs associated with their data protection and management plans. Gathering the data is the hard part. Together we can provide a fair representation of your current state to understand if the decision even warrants a discussion.
Reduced management overhead maintaining multiple systems
The beauty of cloud environments rests in the simplicity of the services consumption. Gone are your responsibilities for code upgrades and firmware management. You simply point, enable, and execute.
On–demand resources without capital investment required to put them in place
It is not uncommon for organizations to struggle to find the justification for investing in a cold site for their data protection needs. Depending on the cloud platform you choose, you will have the ability to spin up workloads within the cloud service itself. For some organizations, this covers the need of having a failover plan without requiring the capital needed to fill a data center full of blinking lights and cables.
Inherent scalability and performance
Alongside the previous point, you no longer are required to build out the requisite systems to support your workloads. Within the cloud architecture, it becomes more important to align proper cloud governance strategies. This way you can ensure you are appropriately assigning resources to the outcome in front of you.
Integration with other public cloud services (IaaS, PaaS)
As IaaS and PaaS services are becoming more common place, our data management and services strategies are having to stretch across platform. Selecting a platform the supports multiple services outcomes is beneficial. By doing so, you are enabling your business to leverage the full services portfolios that are at our finger tips.
Compliance Oriented Solutions
A major factor in the long-term archival of data often resides within the compliance side of the business. Companies commonly struggle with regulatory systems controlling the overriding retention policies. These periods commonly range from 7 years to the life of the products they may produce. This long-term retention of data creates technical, operational and financial hurdles for the business to overcome.
In general, cloud providers have simplified the game here. They provide engineered solutions with the intent of serving up consistent, predictable cost models. These platforms also simplify the lifecycle management of your data set.
- Security-based outcomes
Modern Data Management solutions are now enabling frameworks that have native protections for your data set. In case you missed it, we discussed the value of creating intentional data protection mechanisms in 5 Beginning Steps to Ensure Your Backups are Protecting Your Data from Ransomware.Today, instead of creating automated frameworks to protect your data set, you have the capability to leverage a predesigned solution to protect against nefarious action. These immutable infrastructures are enabling technical teams to focus on getting the proper data set aligned with the right platform.
The base assumptions for our exercise
- 30TB of source data
- Change Rate of 2%
- Growth Rate of 10%
- Retention for 3 Years
Financial Total Cost of Ownership
In building out the cost models for available cloud services, we gathered known pricing for the core players in the public marketplace. As you apply the assumed growth rates over 3 years, you end up with a cumulative capacity requirement of 41TB’s at the end of the time frame.
It’s important to note that the below financial model does not account for the onsite infrastructure required to support architecture. We will cover the importance of this layer shortly…
In order to play out the full impact of this analysis, we will also need to collect your requisite bandwidth costs into the chosen cloud provider. When layered together, we can calculate the future costs associated with the shift.
As you can see in the model above, you have a multitude of options when it comes to placing your data within a public cloud service. When and where will be addressed shortly…
Understanding the impact of your organization’s cash position is important for this exercise. Cloud costs become operational in nature. A monthly service fee ranging from $330/month to $1,135/month is often time more palatable for a business than extending a “Brinks truck” worth of cash for a system that will be replaced in 3-5 years.
Technical Overview – Enabling the Advantages in Your Ecosystem
A modern approach to data protection that utilizes the many advantages of public cloud object storage will typically be broken into two major components.
The first is a software and hardware architecture that is positioned near the resources that are being protected – typically in your datacenter. The reason for this is to provide the performance required to complete backups quickly without negatively impacting applications. The other reason is to be able to offer high performance search and restore capability. Downloading terabytes of data from the public cloud is going to take a while, having a cache of this data in your datacenter can speed that up to minutes or seconds.
In order to successfully complete your financial model, we will need to collect the size of the full data set you plan to protect. Your standard retention policies, and growth and change rates will be needed as well. From there, we can apply your logical requirements to a physical design.
The second component is the object storage used to hold the protected data for a length of time that meets your retention requirements. In this example, we are looking at public cloud resources for this archive. However, many businesses choose to use existing investments in storage targets in the datacenter to be the archive. This could also be used in a transitional approach.
A fundamental concept with this split architecture is that time sensitive restores are typically applicable only to backups that have happened in the past several days or weeks. A business can choose to retain just a week or two in the on–premise component and put the remainder of their retention period in the archive where it will have less performance in case of the need to restore. A highly performant infrastructure isn’t the goal here.
Cost reduction and architectural simplicity is our goal. This approach also lessons the investment of the on–premise component, because it is being sized for just a few weeks of retention.
Which Cloud to Choose?
We live in a multi-cloud world these days. Most organizations are leveraging both on-prem services and cloud-based outcomes. Even within the cloud-based deployments, it is common to see organizations leveraging several providers for the solutions they are building. So, don’t feel pressured into solidifying on only one cloud provider.
In the case of selecting the proper data management platform for you, a few questions need to be answered.
Are you leveraging any existing cloud services today?
If so, consolidate services to simplify billing and management. No need to create an extra layer to manage or worry about.
Have you been extended any cloud credits?
This common scenario leads many of our clients to choosing a platform where they have free capacity for a period of time. Ultimately, this drives down your costs even further for the complete solution.
Remember, migrating out of a data protection scenario is fairly simple. Your data is naturally expiring as your retention mandates. Want to move platforms? Simply repoint to the new environment, align your governance policies appropriately, and let your other data expire.
What services are you hoping to align to your data management architecture?
If you have the need to spin up workloads, or rapidly provision services to business operations, your needs are completely different than simply archiving data to meet a 7-year retention policy.
Most strategies are clearly aligned to the business policies that need to be met. In the case of data protection and management, we simply aligning the proper cloud operation to the desired SLA set forth by the business.
Are there regionally operated cloud offerings that align to your business needs?
When it comes to cloud providers, we have obviously touched on many of the large players in the space. Regionally operated players also warrant consideration. They typically provide a higher touch, more relational experience that can often be suitable for the needs of your business.
These solutions usually have set frameworks and toolsets they require you to use. But, with this standardization, they are able to offer impressive service level agreements with superior customer service.
All this leave your head spinning? Us too sometimes!
Hopefully through this journey, you’re able to identify the options that best align to your outcomes. Building a cloud-based data management strategy is possible. With a little effort, we can best align your goals to the available cloud-based data management advantages.
As always, we’re available to help you start the journey! Just let us know a time that works best for you!