This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, JG Heithcock of Retrospect, a StorCentric Company, explores how IT professionals and personal users alike can save on cloud backup and storage.
An organization has much less assurance of business continuity and overall data protection without reliable backup—yet some data storage backup is prohibitively expensive for many organizations. It’s therefore important to understand your options for data transfer and data storage pricing models, particularly for cloud backup.
While some cloud storage providers charge customers for all interactions, other providers simplify pricing to only the storage amount. It’s important to understand that your company’s operations are a big part of what determines cloud storage usage rates. Read on to better understand the full list of features that cloud storage providers may ding you for, as well as cost estimates for more economical options.
Let’s begin by considering four key cost components that cloud storage providers may charge for—alongside the ideal way to leverage backup software to interact with your choice of storage location effectively.
- Storage. The core cost component that all providers charge for is simply the amount of data storage an enterprise uses. These costs might show up based on usage, or else as a flat rate for “unlimited” storage. By using backup software for daily backups, corporate storage use will rise as the software stores new or modified files, just as with disk-based backups. Some backup software includes a useful grooming feature, which allows for storage management while maintaining backup history.
- Downloads. Many cloud storage providers will charge customers based on the amount of data they download, known as egress, so it’s wise to confirm the pricing in advance. Top backup software helps by downloading data when it does different types of data verification, such as a restore or catalog rebuild. Verification download any uploaded data for integrity verification. You can also keep your download costs lower by disabling verification instead of opting for data compression.
- API requests. API requests—the least expensive component of cloud storage—refers to the number of requests that your backup software sends to the cloud storage provider. Keep in mind that Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, and other large cloud storage providers charge for these services. This may show up in billing as “GET requests” or “PUT requests. For example, “as a ballpark figure, backup software can use 20,000 PUT requests to store 1 terabyte of data and 200,000 GET requests to fetch 1 terabyte of data.
- Uploads. Not many cloud storage providers charge for the amount of data uploaded, also known as ingress, but don’t assume they won’t, since some do. Verify whether you can expect upload charges before signing on with a provider.
Examples of Potential Storage and Cloud Backup Fees
Now let’s examine what two different types of businesses might expect to pay for these various services depending on the amount of data stored, which services they use, and which cloud service provider they select:
Large Design Firm
A large design firm might have 10 terabytes of data, with 100 gigabytes changing daily and 100 gigabytes restored monthly. As an example, opting for standard storage, they can expect an average monthly bill of around $310. Check out this breakdown:
- Storage: $300 (3 cents per GB for 10 TB)
- Upload: Free
- Download: $9 (9 cents per GB for 100 GB)
- API requests: 0.01 cents (0.004 cents per 10,000 GET for 100 GB); 0.01 cents (0.005 cents per 1,000 PUT for 100 GB)
- Storage: $125 (0.0125 cents per GB for 10 TB)
- Upload: Free
- Download: $10 (0.09 cents per GB for 100 GB [Transfer] plus 0.01 cents per GB for 100 GB [Retrieval)
- API Requests: 0.02 cents (0.01 cents per 10,000 GET for 100 GB); $0.02 ($0.01 per 1,000 PUT for 100 GB)
Small Law Firm
A small law firm could have 5 terabytes of data, 10 gigabytes changing daily, and 10 gigabytes restored monthly. As an example, they can expect an average monthly bill of just $51, according to this breakdown:
- Storage: $50 (0.01 cents per GB for 5 TB)
- Upload: Free
- Download: $1.20 ($0.12 per GB for 10 GB)
- API Requests: 0.02 cents ($0.10 per 10,000 GET operations for 10 GB; $0.01 ($0.01 per 10,000 PUT operations for 10 GB
As you can see, the monthly charges can vary significantly based on various factors across service providers. The key really is to do your homework, so there are no surprises. Bottom line, public cloud storage can offer many advantages, among them increased capabilities and time and cost savings. Of course, if your goal is to avoid cloud backup and storage costs, the best way to do that is to first understand them.