Optimised maturity is where the organisation is using backup software to enable cloud resilience, including the ability to restore to other clouds
As the technology to consume cloud has become more available, the adoption of cloud-based office and other apps have resulted in cloud and software subscriptions growing exponentially. As a result, there is more cloud storage consumption, which, if not optimised, is ultimately going to increase costs.
In this blog as part of the Secure Agility Cloud Insights Series, we will review the insights from a recent webinar hosted by industry experts from Secure Agility and Veeam Software on the optimise phase of the cloud journey with a focus on reducing the cost of cloud backups.
Drivers for the cloud included some oversights
How did we get to cloud and what drove organisations to adopt this new model? Ian Frodsham-Budd, a Solution Architect with Veeam Software, said a big driver was innovation as companies realised IT can drive revenue and make an impact from a competitive perspective.
“They can’t do that if they are spending all their time and budget keeping the lights on, so the cloud can be the someone else to keep the lights on and help drive innovation to help the company move forward,” he said.
For example, when you buy a car, you know what you are taking on is not just the ticket price, it is the fuel, servicing, registration, insurance and other maintenance. And consequently, you can budget for it. The same thinking should be applied to the cloud.
In the case of backup, Frodsham-Budd said typically it is an afterthought as companies select the cloud for the business purpose – which is what they should be doing – but they tend to get there and think ‘we should probably protect the data as well’. That can be too late.
“Then they look at what mechanism there is to be able to do that with what is provided,” he said. “For example, snapshots to a cloud-provided backup service are good technologies but, ultimately, they are expensive.”
The backup maturity cycle
Different organisations will be at different maturity levels with their backups and recovery, with the most common being no data protection, including the belief that “the cloud does it”.
Alternatively, the organisation is just using snapshots, or the cloud-provided backup.
“The more advanced maturity is where the organisation is utilising data protection specialist software for AWS, Azure or Google Cloud. This can minimise your costs in the cloud and give you a lot more functionality compared with a cloud-produced product,” Frodsham-Budd said.
“Then there is the optimised maturity where the organisation is using backup software to enable cloud resilience, including the ability to restore to other clouds, restore to on-premises infrastructure, and offsite backups to other data centres or clouds.”
Savings speak loudly at an insurance company
What does an optimised cloud backup architecture look like? Quite a lot for one insurance company.
Soren Reichelt, Principal Consultant at Secure Agility, said the company was spending between $4,000 and $5,000 per month on backup snapshots which were almost 10% of its total cloud budget.
“For most businesses technology is an investment, and they are looking for a return on that investment, but the common approach is to utilise expensive snapshots and reduce the level of protection due to the cost of storage,” Reichelt said.
At the insurer, there were some 400 EC2 instances and daily snapshots performed with no defined retention period.
Zachary Simandl, Enterprise Account Executive at Veeam Software, agreed that backup was often an afterthought. “There was a project nearing completion, and someone asked: have we backed this up? The deafening silence that followed meant no, so they had to do something and turned on the native AWS backup tool to take snapshots and retain them forever,” Simandl said. “Then when the project was launched, a few months down the track they noticed their spend was much higher than expected and there wasn’t a problem with their environment.”
Veeam was set up in less than a week and resulted in a 70 to 75 per cent reduction in backup costs, including faster restores and it resulted in greater confidence.
“What we were able to do was intelligently manage the lifecycle of the snapshots and tier them without compromising the performance of the backup system, but deliver a much better financial outcome,” Simandl said.
Also, a big environment is not necessary to realise cost savings with backups. In this case, it took the insurance company longer to decide to do anything than implement the solution.