Immediate Benefits It didn't take Jankowski long to see the benefits of going completely online for the team's data storage and archiving. "While we were trucking our tapes to an off-site location, it was not as secure or as far enough away from potential danger as we wanted it to be," he said.AmeriVault's system is completely automated, delivering what the company calls "disciplined" backup and advanced recovery services designed for organizations unable to tolerate data loss or downtime. "With off-site storage, our expert technical support and advanced recovery services, organizations can focus on core competencies, knowing that they are fully protected," AmeriVault Vice President Jeff Meisner said. AmeriVault redundantly backs up all its data and spreads it around to various locations within its own storage network-to back itself up-so that a client's data is never located all in one place. "We never even look at a client's data," Meisner said. "We're just concerned with the metadata and that [each entry] gets backed up and archived correctly and is easy to access in the future." AmeriVault's managed solutions include online data backup and recovery, e-mail archiving, and real-time replication that deliver total automation, maximum security and regulatory compliance. Market research companies such as IDC, Gartner and Enterprise Strategy Group estimate that 80 percent of the costs associated with an IT system occur after implementation, in the form of technical training, support, repairs and upgrades. Thus, it is important for enterprises to plan ahead for these types of expenses by building them into the organizations cost analyses, analysts say. "This same rule holds true for data protection and disaster recovery," said Meisner. "Backup costs are more than just the sticker price of the hardware and software. One has to examine the TCO [total cost of ownership] with regard to the many facets of data protection." These items include such things as speed of recovery and risk mitigation, Meisner said. "These are hard dollar figures that are easily quantified," he said. "This model does not take into account any soft dollar costs, such as risk, regulatory scrutiny, employee morale, work environment, travel time and expenses, delays in key project timelines, diverted resources, and public image/goodwill." Pricing for AmeriVault's online storage, data recovery and compliance service varies depending on the amount of data, how much data needs to be retained, how well data compresses, the rate of daily change and the length of the agreement. Thus, the following monthly fees are in a rough order of magnitude: less than 30GB: $16 per gigabyte; 30GB to 60GB: $14 per gigabyte; 60GB to 90GB: $12 per gigabyte; 90GB to 300GB: $10 per gigabyte; and more than 300GB: $8 per gigabyte. The Ravens most recent monthly bill was for 220GB of storage, Jankowski said. Although he didn't give a dollar figure, it's easy enough to do the math and see that the entire storage bill for the Ravens is probably less than $2,500 per month. "That price does sound reasonable, and it would cost a company a lot more than that to hire someone to manage the storage [in-house]," said Dianne McAdam, an analyst at The Clipper Group, in Wellesley, Mass. Compared with conventional storage systems that can easily quadruple that total in monthly costs, is online storage something a small or midsize business or an enterprise IT manager should consider? "We haven't used the system long enough to come right out and recommend it for anybody just yet," Jankowski said. "But, man, it's easy and reliable, and we haven't had any problems yet. Its been just great so far." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
"In addition, the amount of time and resources the backup and recovery process took was a constant source of frustration," Jankowski said. "With AmeriVault, backup and recovery is effortless and accurate. We don't even think about the daily backup because it happens automatically, and when we need to do a recovery, it's fast, and all of our data is there."