Many organizations are anchored in the past, using a legacy backup solution that is costly, unreliable, and complex, making it difficult to shed outdated processes to truly innovate. Based on the recent Data Protection Trends Report for 2020, 38% of IT Pros evaluate new solutions to reduce hardware/software costs along with 30% wanting to reduce complexity. Complex, outdated solutions can add more headaches for IT departments, making the ability to improve the reliability of backups and restores more time consuming and less likely. If you’re included in this percentage, you may have already discovered the costs and complexity of your legacy system is unsustainable. For everyone else who is still tied into their legacy systems, let’s discuss these two pain points a bit further.
What to look for in a data backup solution
Backup solutions should optimize cost
Traditional legacy backup solutions can be costly, difficult to use, and unreliable. Some costs associated with hardware, software, and storage are common expenses and easier to recognize. But other costs are not so apparent. For example, you may experience vendor lock-in, making you dependent on a specific vendor for products and services with the inability to switch based on substantial expenses. Measuring the damage associated with downtime and data loss due to an outdated data protection strategy is also an important factor for ANY business.
Storage, software, licensing costs should be addressed
Legacy backup solutions can come with not only software costs but also hardware and storage expenses, especially if a specialized system is required. If you must buy a legacy solution that requires additional hardware, the overall cost of the solution gets higher. Along with these costs, hidden costs, expenses that might not be completely apparent at first, can take the forms of licensing, maintenance, or the price of managing the solution itself. Especially with a complex solution, even the expense of training IT staff to learn the software can be a factor. With each renewal of the legacy system, you may incur annual licensing plus other expenses simply to just renew. When evaluating alternative backup solutions, Kevin Ragsdale, Director of IT for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas stated, “Legacy backup was too expensive. We paid $100,000 in annual licensing renewal plus $50,000 in specialized hardware. Saving $150,000 every year gives us the opportunity to consider additional technology initiatives that will help ensure optimal guest experiences.” With this much savings, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was able to invest money elsewhere to improve the overall experience at their hotel. When it comes to your legacy system, you must ask, how much is the solution costing your business?
Impact of downtime
Data is critical to every organization and needs to be accessible for continuous operations to meet the requirements and expectations for the organization. We’ve all had experiences where our most-used application is down or as an online shopper, trying to order an item online and not being able to because of an unexpected outage. For businesses alike, the costs of downtime can be very expensive and negatively impact the brand’s reputation. According to the Data Protection Trends Report mentioned above, one hour of downtime for a “high-priority” application is estimated to cost a business $67,651. When it comes to evaluating data protection solutions, the impact of downtime for business-critical applications is an important factor that needs to be considered. Will your backup solution be able to restore applications instantly? Does it have granular recovery options? Are restores flexible? These questions should be answered when analyzing a backup solution. A modern, innovative backup approach with a solution that continues to evolve, protecting your data, and reducing downtime is a necessity today.
Avoid vendor lock-in
Vendor lock-in is not new to the IT landscape, with many organizations sticking with old, legacy solutions due to being dependent on a specific vendor for product and services, unable to integrate new solutions into an environment without substantial costs. Many organizations can be vulnerable to lock-in due to exponential business growth, with the data protection requirements that once worked before outdated and no longer viable to their current business model. As companies are transitioning into Digital Transformation, vendor lock-in hinders development and can cost organizations money. Data protection solutions should be flexible and grow with your business without the extra cost of vendor lock-in or complexity.
Eliminate unnecessary complexity
As an organization grows and generates more and more data, legacy backup solutions struggle to evolve with the flexibility to scale and meet data performance requirements. Along with the costs of legacy solutions, a complex solution that requires reeducation of staff or having to train users every time a new version is implemented only adds more daunting, time-consuming, and costly tasks to organizations. The more complex a solution is, the less flexible it becomes. The loss of flexibility means as your business grows and continues to generate data, it also doesn’t scale easily to cover the thriving business operations. An example of a company that realized that their legacy solution was too complex and no longer fit the needs of their organization is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)- Australia. WWF-Australia used to enjoy it’s legacy backup and disaster recovery software, including technical support, free of charge from its incumbent vendor, until 2015. The software became outdated and any advancements and technical assistance would come at an additional cost, which WWF-Australia did not have a budget for, being a not-for-profit organization. The software was also complex in terms of usability for their requirements.
From WWF-Australia’s experience, if the solution is too complex to meet the business requirements, it’s too complex to spend any more money on. Instead of heading into their data protection strategy with an “If it’s not broke don’t fix it attitude,” they knew that their current solution was not meeting their needs, and they decided to find a better, more innovative solution.
Simple, flexible, reliable
The backup landscape has evolved to be more agile and multi-faceted with the world becoming increasingly digital. Unconditional access to services is demanded by customers and users in many organizations which could be at best a challenge and at worst a survival matter. When it comes to tackling real business challenges such as ransomware, vendor lock-in, storage capacity as well as unpredictable world economic and health factors, IT admins lack time, resources, and energy. To aid them in these challenges, they need a backup solution that is reliable, affordable, easy to use and can help navigate the business through Digital Transformation.
There are many factors why a company may re-evaluate their data protection strategy and solution. Throughout this blog post, we have discussed two important reasons: cost and complexity. Getting the most from the cost of your backup solution by having a flexible cost model and the option to reuse backup data in new, innovative ways provides more return on your investments. Reducing complexity to free up the time for your already busy IT staff gives them the opportunity to work on more important tasks. A backup solution that is simple, flexible, and reliable enables Digital Transformation and ensures your data is protected and available when needed. As time continues to pass, data protection solutions should evolve and innovate with your business. If it’s not currently, maybe you are falling into one of these reasons why IT users reevaluate their strategy. To learn more about the challenges associated with legacy backup solutions, check out this whitepaper.
This blog post was originally written by Kirsten Stoner for Veeam Blogs.