Recently, we explored the different kinds of server backup solutions that can keep your critical data protected in the event of a disaster. One of the options we explored in brief is cloud backup, or keeping a copy of your server data off-site in a cloud provider’s datacenter.
Cloud backup is perhaps the most widely-used form of cloud services, which is an umbrella term for any time data is placed on an off-site server that you then access over the Internet. Another variation is fully cloud-based applications and environments, where your entire computing experience is being delivered by your cloud provider from the servers in their datacenter.
While “the cloud” may be less perplexing than it has been in years’ past, we at Optimal still receive a large number of questions about the types of cloud storage solutions out there, and what they might cost on a monthly basis. This is a valid question not only because of the complexity of cloud storage, but also because it’s always important to make sure you’re getting fair pricing no matter what service you subscribe to.
Below we’ll take you through what factors most closely influence the nature of your cloud storage solution, along with the average associated costs.
What factors influence what your cloud storage solution will look like?
There are many elements in play when it comes to cloud storage solutions. Here are the main factors that will dictate what you end up investing in your storage solution:
1. What is the purpose of your cloud storage? Are you transitioning into a fully-hosted environment where all of your data lives in the cloud and the cloud alone, or are you periodically sending a backup copy of your data off-site? Is the storage just one piece of a comprehensive disaster recovery solution? In other words, are you looking for a managed solution, or simply space to rent?
2. How much data are you storing? Are you storing data at the file level, or—as is the case with many high-level disaster recovery solutions—complete images of your server at multiple intervals throughout the day? Are you storing just a portion of your data, or multiple Terabytes’ worth? Is it rapidly-changing data like email? Storage is generally priced by the Gigabyte, so higher quantity means a higher invoice.
3. Do you have special requirements? Do you want to retain the images of your servers for 90 days or longer before they’re cleared from your storage total? Are you including less common line-of-business applications or database servers? Will you need instant access to your data in the event of a disaster? Each of these may mean additional fees.
What is the average price range for cloud storage solutions?
Depending upon you answers to the questions above, you could be looking at a monthly investment that ranges anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars per month.
The least expensive options will be those that are purely file-based backup for plain vanilla data. For these, you could find solutions that, on average, will run you $0.20 to $1.50 per Gigabyte per month. If your solution is not being managed in any way, you should not pay more than this.
Your most expensive options are those that include monitoring, management, support, and customized retention policies for full images of your servers. Here, the cloud storage portion will be closer to the $2 to $4 per Gigabyte range, since your provider is now responsible for the protection and management of your data.
For these higher-level solutions, you’ll also be looking at a separate one-time investment for the labor it will take to either migrate your data into your provider’s cloud environment, or to configure your devices to communicate with their datacenter. On average these projects will run you around $1,000, depending upon the amount of data you have. (At the lower-level, you will typically install an agent that will send your data off-site yourself, so it will only cost you a bit of time.)
In the end, it’s most important to sign on with a provider that you trust, who has a cloud environment that is secure, and who will support you if you run into any hiccups along the way.
As is the case with many technology solutions, you will get what you pay for.