Four Steps to Maximize Backup Storage ROI

Instead of considering it a digital dumping ground, organizations should take these four steps to maximize backup storage ROI. The return on investment (ROI) of legacy back storage is dismal. The “return” on a backup storage investment typically comes when IT needs to recover from a disaster or ransomware attack. The organization and IT are hoping that day never comes.

The high upfront cost of backup hinders IT’s ability to derive maximum backup storage ROI. To meet the 3-2-1 rule of backup, three copies of data on two different types of media with one off-site forces organizations to, on day one, buy a backup storage system 5X greater than the capacity of production storage. It will likely purchase a solution that is 10X the size of production to store copies of data for years. This exponential capacity requirement makes cost the primary factor, even though the backup storage target’s primary purpose is to help the organization recover from a disaster.

Maximize Backup Storage ROI by Lowering Upfront Costs

Four Steps To Maximize Backup Storage ROI
Lowering the upfront cost is the first step to maximizing storage ROI

The first step to maximize backup storage ROI is by eliminating or at least lowering the upfront costs. Lowering upfront costs involves more than moving to an Operating Expense (OPEX) model. The backup storage target needs to deliver the architecture in the most efficient manner possible. An efficient backup storage target should use the highest density drives possible and use all of the full capacity of those drives without impacting performance. It should also use these drives without impacting availability. In other words, multi-day recovery from drive failure is unacceptable.

Legacy backup storage targets are unable to achieve these levels of efficiency. They force customers to use lower capacity drives, complex scale-out clusters, and overpowered storage controllers. Each of these compromises raises the cost, especially for an OPEX model.

StorONE’s S1:Backup is built on the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform, a complete rewrite of the legacy storage IO stack. S1:Backup can run on modest servers, acting as storage controllers and leveraging the highest density flash and hard disk drives. The efficiency of the StorONE platform enables S1:Backup to deliver hundreds of thousands of IOPS from a minimal flash tier and run at 90% capacity utilization from the hard disk tier.

Maximize Backup Storage ROI by Leveraging “as a Service”

The next step is to look for a solution that leverages an “as a Service” or OPEX model. Again, efficiency is critical so that the periodic expense of the OPEX model doesn’t negate the potential ROI savings. While moving to an OPEX model doesn’t necessarily reduce the overall cost of the solution, it does defer payments so that the organization realizes a return sooner.

Four Steps To Maximize Backup Storage ROI
Minimize Upfront Cost, Maximize Backup Storage ROI as a Service

The move to an OPEX model should not force the organization to compromise on the intended purpose of the backup storage target. Cloud backup storage, one popular means to deliver the OPEX model, can create additional challenges, especially in large-scale recovery efforts caused by a ransomware attack or natural disaster. The cloud may not be the best place to put backup data, and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) does not overcome all cloud recovery challenges.

Legacy backup storage targets, because of their inefficiency, have a difficult time offering an affordable OPEX purchasing model for their solutions. The upfront costs are too high for them to deliver this business model competitively. Instead, their attempts are often leases disguised as a cloud subscription.

StorONE’s S1:Backup powers our Backup Infrastructure as a Service (BIaaS), which delivers a true cloud business model on-premises without requiring a long-term commitment. Our latest LightBoard video walks you through the critical aspects of this solution and why we think it is an excellent alternative to using the cloud for backup storage.

Backup Infrastructure as a Service is the most risk-free way to enhance your existing backup software to improve recovery point and recovery time objectives, increase data retention capabilities and become more resilient to a ransomware attack.

Maximize Backup Storage ROI by Providing Standby Storage

The third step in maximizing backup storage ROI is to look for a solution that can do more than just store backup data. Legacy backup storage targets focus solely on keeping costs down, impacting their ability to fulfill their primary purpose, recovery, and limiting their functionality beyond backup. The result is that until there is a need to recover data, legacy backup storage targets’ value is never realized.

StorONE’s Backup Infrastructure as a Service includes Standby Storage which provides a sterile, production-class recovery environment in case of a ransomware attack. Standby Storage is not just for ransomware; you can use it as a replication target, to recover from a failed storage controller, or use it for testing new patches. S1:Backup’s Standby Storage capability delivers the performance and availability your application needs when you need it most but does so at backup storage prices.

Beyond Backup – Use a Platform to Expand the Use Cases

The final step in maximizing backup storage ROI is to expand the use cases beyond backup storage. There are plenty of use cases where high capacity is a crucial requirement. The archive use case is an apparent next project, but your backup storage target needs to be addressable via NFS, SMB, and S3-Object. It should also support both self-encrypting drives and provide software-driven, volume-level encryption. A potential next step beyond an archive project is Network Attach Storage (NAS). This use case can start as simple as user home directories, but the backup storage target needs to support the requisite protocols and deliver acceptable performance.

Four Steps To Maximize Backup Storage ROI
Start by solving your backup problems, then consolidate all storage workloads with an Enterprise Storage Platform

Beyond the high-capacity use cases, companies have more performance-oriented use cases like virtualization, databases, and even HPC/AI workloads. The backup storage target needs to expand beyond its capacity focus and enable the addition of more performance by installing additional flash drives to deliver more performance without upgrading storage controllers.

However, as IT continues to add these use cases to continue what was originally a backup storage target, the solution needs the flexibility to upgrade controllers without data migration or access disruption. Only a platform approach to storage enables organizations to complete the four steps to maximize backup storage ROI. It is a journey that starts with solving backup and ransomware challenges and ultimately ends with consolidating all data center storage.

Learn More

Watch our recent webinar “Beat the High Cost of Backup Storage with an On-Prem Cloud,” now available on-demand, to learn more about lowering backup storage costs. During the webinar, we compare Backup Infrastructure as a Service to Cloud Backup Storage to help you determine which is the most effective way to bring down backup storage costs. These four steps to maximize backup storage ROI will create an affordable, resilient solution.

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George Crump

George has over 25 years of experience in the storage industry, holding executive sales and engineer positions. Before joining StorONE, he was the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland.

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