Q

DIY disaster recovery cost vs. cloud disaster recovery

Independent backup expert Brien Posey compares in-house, DIY disaster recovery cost to a cloud DR service.

How do you weigh cloud disaster recovery cost vs. in house DR? Is there a threshold for the amount of data you have to protect where a cloud service becomes more expensive than an in-house solution?

Cloud-based disaster recovery is commonly marketed as an inexpensive alternative to do-it-yourself disaster recovery. Even so, there is no denying that there is a substantial cloud-based disaster recovery cost. It is theoretically possible for the cloud-based disaster recovery cost to be more than traditional, on-premises disaster recovery.

The reason why cloud-based disaster recovery is often considered to be cheap is multi-tenancy. When you perform disaster recovery in-house, you have to purchase all the hardware that is required for you to implement your disaster recovery solution. In a cloud environment, you are not actually purchasing hardware. Instead, you are effectively leasing a small portion of the cloud provider's total available capacity.

This disaster recovery cost model works great if you are consuming relatively few resources, but as your resource consumption increases, so do your costs.

With this in mind, imagine that your disaster recovery storage requirements are such that the cloud storage provider has to allocate an entire storage array to you. When that happens, you are no longer splitting the cost with other tenants. You are absorbing the full cost of using the array.

Granted, the cloud provider probably isn't going to send you a bill for the full purchase price of the array. Instead, your bill will be based on the amount of space you are consuming, the IOPS that you are generating or some other combination of performance factors.

The problem, however, is that you are paying for your resource consumption month after month. Eventually your cumulative monthly costs will exceed the cost of purchasing your own storage hardware. Of course, the cloud provider is handling hardware maintenance and support, and that may justify the cost.

Next Steps

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This was first published in July 2014

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