5 Ways to Reduce Your Backup Storage Costs

SimpleBackups founder

Laurent Lemaire

Co-founder, SimpleBackups

October 20, 2021

If you've ever cleaned out a packed attic or garage, you understand how challenging storage can be. The situation is more complex when dealing with data, and companies seem to be having it worse by the day for several reasons.

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One, organizations are gaining access to more and more data as they use ERP and CRM systems to gather customer information. IDC predicts that global data generation will reach a massive 175 zettabytes by 2025. When this data accumulates quickly, it results in fluctuating storage needs.

Two, there's a high decentralization of server points (endpoints) following the pandemic. More employees are working remotely, creating loads of data in branch offices, home offices, and other primary data centers. That means admins have even more responsibility to store, secure, and backup data across thousands of endpoints.

Still, organizations must retain petabytes of data for years to i. meet regulatory requirements and ii. maintain a competitive advantage by turning data into insights. All while ensuring the backed-up data is protected, without any risks of getting lost or damaged.

Unfortunately, maintaining stored data is both expensive and time-intensive. It has been for ages. And the more the data, the more the backup storage and its associated headaches and costs. Hence the need for strategic ways to handle the ever-increasing volume of data without incurring more costs or adding more complexity to data storage.

Here are five easy ways your organization can reduce its backup storage costs.

1. Adopt an Incremental Backup Strategy

First and foremost, you should give thoughtful consideration to what data you're backing up. That is, what methods are you applying to what data sets? Relative to change rates and recovery needs?

While at it, identify or establish data lifecycles. The goal is to archive the 'right' data and execute backups at the 'right' intervals. You also want to confidently delete any obsolete data that your organization no longer uses. And add backup storage space only when it's necessary.

That also means identifying storage areas you could downgrade.

With incremental backups, you basically just back up the data that changed since the previous backup. Resulting in less backup storage needs over time.

2. Use a Software-Defined Backup Storage

Executing data backups efficiently; can prove challenging, more so when the said data is fanned out across different vendors and environments. Because then, there's a high risk of:

  • Omitting data
  • Leaving some data unprotected, or
  • Lacking access to timely backups (especially in case of emergencies)

While using a hyper-converged infrastructure solution helps handle the organization's data in a single, easy-to-manage system. It creates a need to integrate such a system with a data archiving solution. (However, doing so only complicates your data backup process.)

To ease the process, deploy software solutions which i. are specifically designed for backing up data and ii. support your hyper-converged system. In other words, use a single solution for storing, archiving, and restoring your data.

To reduce storage costs, get a bundled solution from one vendor.

3. Use SRM Tools with Deduplication Capabilities

Storage resource management (SRM) tools help handle complex data storage environments.

The tools help find and remove duplicated data (otherwise known as deduplication), cutting down data storage space. For example, if you've saved two identical PDF files, SRM systems ensure that only the critical content in the second file is saved.

As such, any additional information that makes the PDF files readable is ignored (slush not backed up.) When opening the second file; therefore, your SRM tool will retrieve the missing data from the first file – making the second file readable.

Such tools also help identify obsolete copies of files and data, further decreasing the data storage and storage cost.

4. Backup Storage on Amazon S3 Glacier (Or Other Cold Storage Options)

Amazon Glacier is specially designed for the long-term digital storage and archiving of data. And while it's not built for frequent utilization, it's highly reliable, secure, and an excellent option for large data backups.

Its use cases involve:

  • Long-term archival of log files
  • Long-term backup of enterprise backups
  • Long-term storage of source data (for processing purposes)

With Amazon S3 glacier, you pay nothing upfront, just a substantially low price as per use basis. It's no wonder that this system is termed the best backup storage on AWS glacier.

Being a cloud storage solution, S3 Glacier eliminates limitations associated with hardware backup systems. For example, it removes the need for resource planning. (As well as availing the necessary on-premise equipment for archiving data.)

It also eliminates any concerns related to troubleshooting hard-disk systems in a bid to maintain hardware-based servers in good working condition.

Users can store up to 10GB of data per month for free. And pay for any additional storage space for as little as a cent per 1GB. (Now, that's a substantial saving compared to on-premise and cloud systems. In fact, the system's price point is currently the lowest available for cloud storage and highly competitive with that of on-premise tape systems.)

Amazon S3 Glacier provides different options for accessing and archiving data:

  • Standard retrievals: allows access to the archived data within 3-5 hours.
  • Bulk retrieval: allows access to petabytes of data within 5-12 hours.
  • Expedited retrievals: allows quick access to archived data. You can access data within 1-5 minutes (except for huge archives.)

As seen from the above timelines, one downside to this system is archive retrieval speed. (Which is understandable as Amazon Glacier is built for long-term storage processes and not frequent removals or retrievals.)

Your organization may opt to combine the S3 and Glacier systems under the AWS umbrella to increase data storage efficiency. Or rather, better archiver data for long periods to maintain regulatory compliance. Here, the data in S3 buckets are configured with lifecycle policies to transfer to the Glacier system once it reaches the set age.

To create an S3 Glacier vault to archive data:

  • Open your AMS Management Console
  • Head to Amazon S3 Glacier service and click on the "create vault" button
  • Choose your location (Region) and name your vault
  • Then click on "Next step."
  • Next, click on "Do not enable notifications" and hit "Next."
  • Review your content, and if okay, click on "Submit" (That automatically creates an Amazon S3 Glacier vault)
  • Next, click on "Setting" to view and change Retrieval policies
  • Here, set your policies to "Free tier" and save the changes
  • Next, you'll need to specify compliance policies for the vault

Amazon S3 Glacier Vault Lock helps deploy and enforce compliance controls for single Glacier vaults within the Lock policy. For example, when you specify a "write once read many" option, it helps lock the policy from future edits.

Note, a lock policy differs from an access policy.

While both policies control access to the Glacier vault, a lock policy helps prevent any future changes. (Which, in turn, provides 'strong' enforcement for the set compliance controls.)

In contrast, a vault access policy helps implement non-compliance access controls. That is access controls that are subject to modifications.

To lock the vault:

First, attach the lock policy to the vault to initiate the locking process. (Doing so will i. return a lock ID and ii. sets the lock to an in-progress state.) Note, the lock ID expires after 24 hours, so you have that much time to verify your vault lock policy.

Next, use the ID to complete the process. In case of any errors, abort the lock and restart the process from the beginning. If everything is 'working' as expected, add the lock policy by hitting the "Initiate vault lock" button.

5. Use SimpleBackups to Store Backups on Amazon S3 Glacier

Perhaps, the easiest way of all, is letting SimpleBackups do the work for you. You can just rely on SimpleBackups to store your file backups or database backups on S3 Glacier. There is minimal effort involved and you will not need to create any Glacier vaults as shown in the method above.

Store youe backups on S3 Glacier and reduce storage costs

Try SimpleBackups →

Reduce Your Backup Storage Cost

As noted, backup storage is getting complex by the day as organizations gain access to more and more data. That, in turn, translates to costlier data archiving strategies. (In a situation where organizations already tend to over-pay for data backup storage to ensure enough room for their ever-fluctuating storage needs.)

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