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January 28, 2020updated 13 Feb 2020 3:08pm

As AWS Slashes Disaster Recovery Costs by 80%, Can Independent Firms Compete?

"Storage is getting cheaper for everyone, not just big vendors."

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has slashed the cost of its CloudEndure disaster recovery (DR) service by 80 percent, a dramatic price cut that reverberated down the channel.

CloudEndure, bought by Amazon in 2019, lets IT teams build cloud-based backups of virtual, physical, public cloud or private cloud infrastructure, replicating them to a “low-cost staging area in the AWS region of your choice” for improved resilience.

With IT resilience and disaster recovery specialists already facing sustained pressure from hyperscale cloud providers (e.g. Sungard’s bankruptcy in 2019), is the move likely to hammer a nail in a DR coffin already rocked by the cloud? We spoke to some leading industry experts.

Robert Rhame, director of market intelligence at Rubrik (which provides “instant” recovery for VMs, Oracle, SQL and second-level RPOs for VMs) was sceptical.

He told Computer Business Review: “Public cloud has not replaced the private data centre nor has it driven storage or computing vendors out of business…

“The price drop is described as a ‘slash’, but it is important to note that $20 per month per server is not free. It is $240 per year per server plus any storage consumed. It also is another interface and creates an additional silo of management.”

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Few companies will have the appetite to set — already overstretched — development teams to work configuring complex cloud resilience products, many noted. Although for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) currently backing up on premises, it may compel them to take a second look at the cloud, some suggested.

AWS BackupNeil Clark, director of cloud services and platforms at ICT services provider GCI commented: “Public cloud hype is slowing down especially for the SMB market due to cost. This move could cause major disruption to the multiple on-premises or smaller products though– and could well lead to AWS establishing itself as a market leader.”

CloudEndure, many added, was already expensive.

Peter Groucutt, MD, Databarracks said: “This price reduction from AWS follows the trend [of falling storage and software costs] but it doesn’t necessarily mean this [massive price reductions] are what will happen across the industry.

“The actual replication products are nowhere near as commoditised as storage.

“AWS, Azure and GCP need to be broadly in line with their pricing for storage because if there is too much disparity, customers will change. That’s not the case for most replication software because they are all very different. Some will only protect VMs not physical servers. Some aren’t compatible with Acropolis.

“CloudEndure’s per server cost was always relatively high and $20 per server is about right for this type of software… In terms of how this effects the DR market and ecosystem, it does make it more competitive. The service providers who are clear about their costs can just pass this saving straight on. They can have a line item on the bill for storage costs, replication software costs and management.

“If you provide DR services in the public cloud, everyone can see what the cost of those resources are, so you need to be able to justify your rates for management.

“The good news is that the cost of good DR is coming down. It used to be prohibitively expensive for most organisations to have this level of resilience. The bad news is that it can be easy to look at the headline numbers of a low per server cost for software and per TB cost for storage and neglect the most important part – the management. ”

Veniamin Simonov, director of product management at NAKIVO Inc. reiterated that the future for independent disaster recovery providers is not as bleak as it may seem.

“There are a few reasons for that. First off, storage is getting cheaper for everyone, not just big vendors. Secondly, the cloud is getting more and more complex every year. Independent providers can offer a complete set of IT services with backup and DR, including strategy, tool selection, deployment, configuration, testing and so on. Big vendors cannot afford to work with each of their customers and cater to their needs.”

System integrators and DR specialists plugging offerings like CloudEndure into their product portfolio, it would seem, are largely unconcerned by the threat of direct-to-cloud backup/disaster recovery being handled in-house.

With big price cuts, everyone, it seems, wins…

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