Pratyush Khare

Counting the cost of storing unstructured data

Blog Post created by Pratyush Khare Employee on Sep 6, 2016

The last time I visited my parents, my dad had just bought a new car. It cost him US$25,000, but he also had to buy insurance to cover damages in case he got in an accident. That came out to an extra US$1,000 a year, which I thought was a pretty good deal. If you do the math, it turns out he is paying about 4% of the purchase price every year – partly for protection, but mostly for peace of mind.


In the IT world, the picture is often very different. When an enterprise spends US$100,000 to buy a storage appliance, it’s just the beginning of the story. It will usually spend between US$200,000 and US$300,000 over the next three years to protect their assets and backup the data sitting on the device. At one of our customers in Australia, we found that 47% of the storage TCO is spent on backup infrastructure.


If you do the math on that purchase, things aren’t so great. Businesses are routinely paying 200% to 300% of the purchase price just to keep up to date. And that raises some interesting questions. Like why are they paying out so much? And, perhaps more importantly, do they really have to?


More, more, more

Before we get to those, let’s look at some of the challenges that backing up information presents. Backup software, appliances and media - such as tapes and disks - are expensive, and so is the manpower-intensive process of moving the data tapes or backup disks to an offsite location.


It can also be extremely time-consuming. In fact, some of the customers I have spoken to are more concerned about getting their backups finished in the limited time window available, than what it costs them.


Just imagine an organization that had 100 TB of data in 2010 and was able to get it all backed up (i.e. copied to disk) over a weekend. Today, just six years later, that data has probably quadrupled to 400TB, but the backup window hasn’t grown at all – it is still 48-hours.

How do organizations get around this? Well, most of the time the solution is simply to throw money at the problem. They keep buying faster backup appliances and faster backup software, and the costs keep escalating.


However, as businesses come under increased pressure to keep up with digital disruptors and embrace the benefits of digital transformation, this presents a great opportunity to also re-think their back-up processes.


Alternative approaches

So is there another, more efficient and, ideally, less expensive way to protect enterprise data? Well, yes and no.


When it comes to protecting an structured data (like DBMS, RDBMS) there is no escape from taking snapshots or full backups. But, if you are looking to protect unstructured data - such as documents, videos, audio or log files - then there are choices. One of them is the Hitachi Content Platform – an object storage solution from Hitachi Data Systems – which is used by over 1,400 customers around the world.


Gartner Critical Capabilities for Object Storage

Ordinarily when important unstructured data is stored on traditional storage devices like a SAN or NAS, it needs to be protected through backup or snapshots. Many organizations first replicate the data to another location and then execute the backup.

With Hitachi Object Storage, all of that is simply unnecessary. The files are protected automatically, thanks to a combination of features like erasure coding, versioning, self-healing, replication and WORM (Write Once Read Many).


We might have very little control over how fast data grows. However, with the right solutions, we can control where and how we store that data. And, more importantly, what it costs!


Making the math add up

When files are stored on Hitachi Content Platform, they are protected without the need of backup / snapshots. This way, organizations can save huge sums spent on the backup infrastructure. This will also allow IT operations to be more efficient as backups can suck up a lot of resources.


While data volumes may be rising, IT budgets are flat or even declining. The Hitachi Content Platform is a good candidate for modernizing an organization’s core IT to make it more efficient without breaking the bank.

What is Hitachi Content Platform?

Press Release: Hitachi Content Platform Receives High Scores in Gartner’s 2016 Critical Capabilities for Object Storage Report