Why Cloud Sucks for Archive but Rocks for Backup

by Nathaniel Cooper, on Sep 25, 2019 9:43:08 AM

I want to talk a bit about why I love cloud for backup  and why I'm not crazy about it for long term archive.

Let's take some generic numbers here. So you have a 100TB of data at any given point and you want your facility backed up. For a backup it's easy to do the math on that and say ok if we do 100TB, and with BackBlaze its $5/TB/month that comes out to $500 a month or $6,000 a year.

That's a very predictable expense that you can say 'Is it worth $6,000 a year to have everything backed up at all times?' because sometimes things will be deleted and added, you'll have a bit of a data shuffle. But at the end of the day you will be able to say this $6,000 will guarantee that our data will always exist. Which can be a good investment depending on your business.

Now when it comes to archive that is about keeping things long term right? Here's what I am always concerned with when archiving to the cloud. First, you've got to figure out what your data churn is.

So let's take an example of a facility that the average project size is 2TB and you do about 25 projects a year. That comes out to 50TB of what we call "Data Burn". So that means you're producing 50TB of new content. You might have more storage than that because you've got some old stuff on your storage, but on a yearly basis you're producing 50TB of content and archiving that 50TB. 

So for that same 50TB you're talking $5/TB which comes out to $3,000 per year. Not bad right? But that's Year 1. Year 2 you've got last years 50TB and this years 50TB. That $3,000 becomes $6,000 now. Year 3 that becomes $9,000 and so on and so forth. So the costs just keep going up as you add more to your archive.

Now this is uniquely true with Cloud. This doesn't mean cloud is bad for archival, but I'm not a huge fan of it because I believe the successful way to do archival to cloud is to put in policies for deleting material. Whether that's after two or three years or whatever you choose, I believe that ruins the idea of an archive because at the end of the day I want to be able to find something from eight or nine years ago.

I'm very concerned with our industry because we do truly create so much! So many TB of content. I'm very concerned that people will hit 5 or 6 years from now and realize that they have hundreds and hundreds of TB of data in the cloud and not a good way to figure out how to manage that. Then it comes down to delete the older stuff, but then again, why have an archive at that point?

So it all depends on your situation, as does everything. If you can look at your archives and put a cap on it then cloud can be a good fit. But if you're here saying you want to access these projects 10-15 years down the line, I don't think that's the best strategy.

Now there's upsides and downsides to all of these strategies, but that's why I'm not crazy about cloud for archive but I love it for backup. It's predictable, it's off-site, I love it.

Topics:archivingarchivebackupCloud Storagedata backup

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