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Are you aware of the hidden costs of storing data in the cloud?

Every enterprise, regardless of the industry,struggles with the management of data. Average data growth is between 35% and 65%, compounding yearly. This growth is managed within IT budgets that are only growing at an average of 7% annually. In order to meet budget requirements, while maintaining the value of data to the business, many IT and Storage professionals have turned to cloud-based storage for storing second copies of data or for long-term retention of infrequently accessed data.

Cloud Storage makes a good first impression

At first glance, cloud storage solutions from leading providers of these types of services appear to be “too good to be true”. Each vendor offers a fixed cost for storing the data on a per Gigabyte (GB) per month basis, with free uploads of the data to the cloud provider’s site. For the IT Storage professional this is a fixed cost that can be moved into the Operating Expense (OPEX) category of their budgets. Moving long-term storage seems like a great idea, it reduces the impact to the overall IT capital budget and mak es accountingfor the data fairly simple. The issue with these services is that the motivation for the cloud vendors to offer low per GB per month pricing is often hidden in the fine print.

The two most prominent vendors in the long-term cloud storage space are Amazon Glacier and Google Cloud Storage Nearline. The lowest cost provider in the cloud offering space is Oracle Archive Storage. These three vendors understand the storage market very well. They realize that very little data is 100% untouched forever and users can’t predict which data will be required and when. The cloud storage vendors have put pricing factors in place to ensure that they can make a profit from this periodic need to access archived data. Furthermore, if the stored data is not being used in the compute portion of these vendors ’environments, the cloud vendors impose a cost to deliver the data back to the owners.

Consider the Facts

Retrieval and export of data are based on a per GB basis, with the first GB being free to retrieve. The customer pays a charge to retrieve each subsequent GB using a tiered pricing model. Crucially, this tiered pricing is maintained over the specified period. This means that once a couple of GBs have been retrieved and/or exported, the rest of the period is at the higher tiered data retrieval pricing. In many instances data retrieval and export charges dwarf the cost of the storage.

More Data Equals Exponentially Increased Fees

All three of the vendors mentioned above charge additional fees for commands sent to retrieve data from long-term storage. The fee seems very small, a couple of pennies per 1,000 commands, but the number of commands to retrieve data can grow rapidly if not managed carefully. Commands for single files can rapidly mount up and before users know it, the cost of restoring justa tiny fraction of the data stored in the cloud, can cost several dollars or more.

Since long-term data can be viewed as: a source for historical analytics; a secondary copy (air gap protection); or even as primary low-cost storage for infrequently accessed data, there is a reasonable probability that a non-recurring percentage of data will be accessed on a monthly basis. With this in mind, whenever IT professionals are looking for a low-cost storage solution for infrequently accessed data, they should include a monthly cost to retrieve some percentage of their data in the business case. This is the only way to make a true and fair comparison to other long-term storage mediums. Based on a survey conducted by Solutions North Consulting, an average of 10-15% of archived, long term retention of secondary copy data is retrieved monthly by users or administrators.

For any enterprise, these hidden costs add up over the life cycle of data stored with apparently“low-cost” cloud storage providers. The costs can increase enormously in a very short time simply by changing the amount of data to be retrieved by just a couple of percentage points. By the time the data is pulled back onsite for usage by the end user, the cost of the data is higher than using primary storage in many cases.

LTO Technology as an alternative solution for long-term retention

It’s crucial to state that LTO Technology has none of these costs associated with storingand retrieving data. In fact, LTO tape technology tends to get less expensive over time due to the price erosion of key elements such as tape media. Even after factoring in the costs of administration, power, floor space, energy consumption and capital expenses for hardware and software, LTO tape technology offers a much lower Total Cost of Ownership for rarely accessed data. LTO tape technology also offers the peace of mind that the data can be validated and stored for many years with no retrieval costs or retrieval command costs. Plus, users need not worry about the reliability or financial viability of a third party to keep their data safe.

Every enterprise has a different use case scenario. That is why the LTO TCO Tool allows you to input your own scenario, and receive instant feedback on the real costs associated with managing data.

For more detail click here for the Ultrium LTO pdf data sheet.

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