February 05, 2021
Debunking BCDR Myths: All Clouds Are The Same
Yes, all cloud providers deliver highly available server and storage infrastructure, but that does not mean they are created equally for Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery (BCDR).
Cloud providers, as mentioned above, deliver highly available server and storage infrastructure, but for BCDR the cloud serves two purposes. First, it serves as an offsite storage repository for tertiary backup server images used for restores. And second, so a virtual machine (VM) can be mounted in the cloud to take over primary server operations during failover. But if costs have any influence on you or your clients then this is where cloud providers differ and there are a few things you should consider.
Public cloud costs are unpredictable at best. Yes, you only pay for what you use, but that means costs can spike, and usually at the worst possible time. For example, when you mount and run a recovery virtual machine (VM). Additionally, cloud providers charge egress fees for moving data out of the cloud. So, downloading a large data set from the cloud (e.g., to restore a server) can be costly as well. Some clouds also have different tiers for compute, storage and security, which can add to cost complexity.
In addition to hidden costs there are also the questions of security that need to be considered. When utilising a public cloud you are sharing that space with others, if one user’s data is compromised, your clients’ data could be as well. It is possible to set up a private, single-tenant environment in a public cloud. However, it comes with additional costs, which impact your bottom line.
Benefits of an All-In-One Solution Provider
All-in-one solutions make billing straightforward, with a single flat fee that includes cloud storage, compute, and restore costs. This provides a straightforward customer experience and ensures predictable margins on services delivered. This can be a benefit for MSPs, because it keeps OPEX costs predictable. It makes billing clients for BCDR services simple and ensures margins on services remain consistent.
All-in-one vendor cloud
Single, predictable monthly fee for cloud storage and compute
Cloud compute costs spike during disaster recovery
Predictable cloud compute performance during disaster recovery operations
Cloud provider may not provide performance guarantees/minimums (or costs may increase to meet performance needs)
No additional cost for restores back to primary server
Cloud provider charges egress fees for moving data out of the cloud
Physical restore device shipped overnight (important for restoring large data sets)
Restore to primary server occurs at Internet speed
Dedicated tech support during during disaster recovery operations including failover and failback
MSP must conduct DR operations, including potentially complex failback, without assistance
Rich security features including administration access and invariable backup snapshots that cannot be infected with ransomware
A “shared model” where the onus of data security lies with the data owner, not the cloud provider. An example is the AWS Shared Responsibility Model
As you can see from the table, cloud costs vary considerably depending on the approach you take. As an MSP, this is an important consideration from a billing perspective.
For example, if you opt to use a public cloud will you build (estimated) restore costs into your monthly fees for clients? Or, will you bill them separately for restore costs? The former provides a better customer experience, but incurs risk: What happens if you underestimate costs? The latter mitigates MSP risk, but may lead to unhappy clients when costs spike.
Additionally,some all-in-one solution providers offer additional security measures like two-factor authentication at every step and hardened cloud appliances. Others might offer data immutability and automated retention capabilities that help organisations meet security objectives and compliance regulations.
Looking to understand more about BDCR and the cloud download our BCDR Buyers Guide For MSPs.