Backup as a Service: To BaaS or Not to BaaS: Page 2

Cloud-based Backup as a Service may or may not be a good choice for your business, depending on cost and management factors.


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Typical Backup Vendors Working with BaaS Providers

Theoretically any backup software can be used to provide backup functionality in BaaS. Practically, not all backup vendors provide BaaS services and not all MSPs support all backup vendors. If you are happy with your existing backup vendor then look for an MSP that supports them, which makes for an easier transition to BaaS.

Of the smaller backup vendors, Acronis has an active MSP program including turnkey backup service offerings aimed at VARs, hosting companies and cloud service providers. Barracuda launched a BaaS offering this early in 2014. Zetta.net specializes in online backup for 500GB+ datasets and works actively with BaaS providers. Vembu Technologies also works closely with MSPs for its BaaS offerings.

Of the larger backup vendors who got into the BaaS game, Symantec sells the NetBackup platform to MSPs as a backup service. EMC’s extensive BaaS offering supports public, private and hybrid cloud environments with combinations of EMC Avamar and Data Domain plus EMC data management tools.

The Money Savings You Want

Nearly every BaaS customer (perhaps all) turns to Backup as a Service to save money. The most common approach is at technology refresh time when companies decide to either buy new backup equipment, or turn over all or some of their backup to a service. By choosing BaaS, the immediate cost savings will be significant, as it foregoes an immediate CapEx expenditure to a lower ongoing OpEx spend. Of course, over time that low monthly payment can get higher and higher, and customers should project increasing costs in concert with their MSP.

On average, one-third of IT budgets are dedicated to legacy systems: existing servers, networks and storage. The remaining one-fourth is available for high priority strategic projects. By offloading backup and recovery operations from legacy systems to an MSP, IT can save money and time on buying and maintaining backup hardware, software and infrastructure. They will also save money by lowering the backup burden on their IT staff.

Having said that, never just look at BaaS cut-rate pricing. Look at reasonable pricing for basic monthly services with a menu of value-added options. Some qualities and options are nice-to-have and some of them are critical to have. Among the critical features are significant savings over CapEx spend and a reasonable OpEx spend, a highly secure service, SLA-driven, QoS, and the option of self service management portals.

Remember that BaaS is not an all-or-nothing deal. If your current backup works in some areas but not in others, then keep your current infrastructure where it is working and use BaaS for problem areas. For example, the continuous backup process for the Oracle financial database is working well and you have no intention of turning that over to a provider. But your Exchange server is over-running your backup windows, and might be an excellent candidate for BaaS. So are your file server and SharePoint backups. Even large enterprise might use BaaS for ROBO, and/or contract with a service provider to build a private cloud to self-deliver backup and recovery services.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to MSPs and start talking possibilities. There are many benefits to BaaS in the right environments and for the right needs. Chances are some or all of your current backup infrastructure would benefit by morphing into Backup as a Service.

Christine Taylor is a well-known technology industry watcher.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: cloud computing, BAAS, backup as a service, cloud based storage

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