Low-Cost Cloud: Balancing Value & Cost

Finding Balance Between Value and Cost

Low-cost cloud solutions are making the news. A range of vendors are offering low-cost cloud solutions without the red tape. However, making a cloud computing decision based on price alone could be a critical error.

Unexpected issues can trigger hidden costs.

Sudden increases in web traffic, growing data volumes and immediate need for data retrieval can incur unexpected and significant costs.

That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting when choosing a cloud backup provider.

Is The Promise of Low-Cost Cloud Worth the Risk?

Choosing a low-cost cloud solution can surely help the bottom line.

Backup and disaster recovery requirements are typically the most common reason to migrate to the cloud. Lower CapEx costs are often a secondary driver. While cost is a huge factor to consider, it’s not the only factor.

Selecting a cloud solution based on cost objectives alone can mask the reason a company is looking for a backup solution. It can even influence the disaster recovery scenarios that companies are trying to prevent.

To assist in the decision-making process, we put together a list of cost-based considerations associated with cloud computing. When choosing a low-cost cloud solution, make sure your Service Level Agreement (SLA) addresses the following factors.

Cost of Growing Data Volumes

As cloud backup requirements grow, so does the cost of storage.

Many cloud storage solutions charge for every GB of storage used.

Add the expense of retaining multiple copies of your data (to meet regulatory or compliance requirements), and the bill for cloud storage skyrockets.

That’s why it’s important to evaluate cloud backup solutions based on what you’re paying for. Understanding the value of your cloud solution can help defray unexpected costs in the future.

Many small businesses will pick a provider based on cost. However, this cloud solution may not reflect your business’s backup and recovery criteria.  In order to get full value for your money, the cloud backup solution must fully support your backup and recovery plan. There’s nothing worse than paying for IT infrastructure that doesn’t meet your precise needs.

Taking the time to understand your current and anticipated data storage needs helps determine what cloud solution provider is the best fit for your business. After you establish the business continuity objectives, then and only then is it time to choose the cloud computing provider.

Cost of Retrieval

Low-cost cloud storage often means cold storage.

Cold storage offers long-term storage for inactive data. When users need to access the data, hefty retrieval fees apply. The fees may seem nominal per GB, but when they add up, costs can climb quickly.

Fees escalate based on the amount of data you access or the frequency that you access it.

Be sure to ask questions about why and where fees are charged when selecting a low-cost cloud solution

Cost of Data Migration

Data migration can also incur significant costs.

The transfer method you chose to move your data to the cloud plays a big role in determining cost.

WAN connection: This is the easiest, least expensive and most common data migration method. However, this can be a very slow process (think days or weeks) when the data set is large. Most businesses can’t afford the downtime required for a WAN-based data migration.

Physical seeding: This is the most efficient data migration method. By connecting to a physical  drive, a full data set can be backed-up and replicated quickly. Seeding overcomes the volume and time challenges presented by WAN-based transfer. However, this migration method can cost more, and requires advanced planning. The cost of acquiring the physical drive, combined with the time to make the transfer and get the drive to the cloud provider can be prohibitive for some businesses.

Data extraction from the cloud can incur a further cost.  Should you, for any reason, chose to retrieve your data and move it to another location, fees may apply. These fees can escalate quickly depending on the size of your data set. In the case of disaster, meeting your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) could either be expensive or impossible.

Ensure that your provider states what cost and terms data retrieval and migration come at.

Cost of a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Its pays to carefully review the Service Level Agreement (SLA) offered by your cloud solutions provider.

The SLA will ensure your business doesn’t lose money in the case of disaster, and that you’ll receive the value you need from your cloud solution. By ensuring mission-critical recovery, your systems will always be available to your users and customers. That means user confidence in your business will remain high.

The SLA ensures your provider will meet your expectations when your business experiences a disaster or emergency. Without such an SLA in place, you may find that you purchased cheap offsite storage rather than a true backup and recovery solution

Do you know your backup requirements?

A growing number of low-cost cloud solutions are available. That’s because it’s relatively easy to set-up a low-cost cloud backup solution.

Inexpensive storage hardware, open source applications, and physical space are the only criteria required to create a cloud backup solution. Anyone with the funds and minimal know-how can fulfil these requirements.

Instead of focusing on costs, your company should consider the value a cloud solution offers the business.  Value may include:

  • Customer response time
  • User-friendly interface
  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Secure and private storage
  • Archival storage capacity
  • Automated backups
  • Full disaster recovery capabilities

If a low-cost cloud solution doesn’t meet your backup and recovery needs, it doesn’t matter how much money your business saved!

Learn more about HostedBizz and how we help clients understand their backup needs and chose the best backup solution for the price.

About Shannon Peck

Hello! I'm Shannon. Nice to meet you. If you're already a HostedBizz partner, we've likely worked together creating custom collateral, or building lead generation campaigns.

I have been working in the tech marketing industry for well over 15 years, and love helping small and medium businesses reach their full sales potential.

To learn more about how I can help you grow your cloud-based offerings, sign on as a HostedBizz partner, and ask to speak with me! If you're already a partner, feel free to reach out. I'm looking forward to chatting!

- Shannon