You may have heard about many different cloud backup storage providers in the media. But when we look closely, there are some big differences that you need to be aware of. The differences between cloud plans could make a huge difference in your long-term charges.
How Will You Use Your Cloud Plan?
Are you planning to store files for a very long time without modification? Does your backup tool support this kind of arrangement? If it doesn’t, or if your files change often, and hence need to be backed up often, it may drive the cost of your cloud plan into new heights.
With most cloud backup storage providers, there are access fees involved. When a folder is queried, the server needs to put together a file list, and that’s a lot of work, so the company usually charges for it. Depending on your backup system, and the size of your file server backup, there may be millions of such request made during a typical backup. You won’t see it immediately and even if each access costs only a small fraction of a penny, it quickly adds up to many dollars and cents. The more folders and files you have, the higher the access fees are going to be. As you repeat backups, hourly, daily, or whatever schedule you use, these charges literally multiply.
Download Fees: Egress Charges
When the time comes and you need to restore something, most providers charge for each gigabyte leaving the facility. If you need to download a lot of data, it’s going to cost—a lot. With many mainstream providers the egress charges can be enormous. Egress charges also apply for tracking data your backup tool uses to coordinate backups. So some form of download will occur, albeit those tracking files obviously are much smaller than a full restore. For example, an Amazon S3 download of 1 TB would cost today (2022) about $92.
Most providers, notably the S3 based cloud storage providers, store each object individually. If you needed to just change a few bytes inside a file, the object is often uploaded again and a new object version is created. If that file happens to be a 1TB file, a new 1TB object may be created. Now you will be charged for 2 TB, even though only a few bytes changed. Granted, this situation could be avoided by a different choice of backup mechanism, but it illustrates the point.
Another point in granularity is charging by gigabytes. Many providers round up and charge in full GBs or even TBs. For example, one provider may have a seemingly low terabyte cost but later you realize they charge full TBs, even though you only use 1 GB.
Minimum Storage Duration Traps
Another trick to make you pay more than you wanted is to stipulate a storage duration minimum. Let’s examine a common scenario. You back up a server’s disk to an image and upload it to the cloud. The image is 500GB, you might be charged one TB, but you think that’s okay given a low TB rate. However, you now go ahead and replace the disk image in the cloud nightly. You assume that overall you are only using 500GB. In reality you used in one month 30 * 500 GB and you also must pay for all 15 TB for a certain number of months. Some providers require a three month minimum storage duration. In our above example, you would pay 90 * 500 GB = 45 TB while only really using 500 GB!
Pay-as-you-go Means No Future Guarantees
It’s like renting a house. Once your lease is up, there may be rate increases. But unlike renting a house, which is a legally regulated situation in most countries, when it comes to cloud storage, there is no regulation. They can increase costs and introduce new fees and limitations anytime they want.
No Technical Support Team
Another form of hidden cost is the lack of technical support. Technical support is critical to have, not only when you first set up the cloud backup system, but also in the long-term. Some form of monitoring and test is required to confirm everything is working as expected and that no critical data portions have been accidentally omitted. Especially when a data restore is needed and time is critical, it’s best to have a competent, reliable, and responsive technical support team available to assist you in completing the restore, if any issues arise.
However, most cloud backup providers are just infrastructure providers. They don’t care if you have difficulties restoring your data; they only provide a platform. In the case of Amazon S3, for example, it wasn’t really built for cloud backups, but it’s being used by many companies as such. So who will assist those users when somehow the restore operation is stuck?
The Solution: A Fixed Pricing Cloud Storage Provider
Wouldn’t it be easier not having to worry about variable costs and fees? No access fees, no download fees, no minimum storage duration. Instead a simple fixed fee for a certain amount of cloud storage. No hidden fees, no future price increases, absolutely nothing to worry about.
In addition, wouldn’t be it great if your cloud backup plan included technical support, based in the U.S., so that you know you can rely on a competent technical support team, no matter what or when issues arise. It turns out such a plan exists, indeed, and it’s provided by the BackupChain Cloud.
Apart from being a cost-effective alternative to other mainstream cloud solutions, BackupChain also offers additional technology to improve the backup process and significantly accelerate backups, so that you can back up more often during a day, at absolutely no additional cost, and with guaranteed fixed future pricing.
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