The $1 WAN Optimization Solution?

DollarOne of the most amazing things that we hear about Amazon’s AWS and the cloud is the radical reduction in IT spend, but it wasn’t until just this week that I appreciated just how much AWS can help IT cut their costs.

A recent discussion over at Spiceworks centered on one user’s (DaveHabgood) search for a cloud storage solution. The user’s company needed to protect 1.2TB, which took over 9 hours to backup to tape. But the tape drive broke and so now Dave was exploring alternative solutions. Backing up to the company’s Amazon S3 bucket was a logical alternative, but even the company’s daily changed data (37.5 to 40 GB) took too long to replicate (about 10 hours), to say nothing of the initial 1.2 TB dataset.  The company has a 10 Mbps Internet connection.

Silver Peak WAN optimization is made for these sorts of cases, and would probably transfer 40 GB in a fifth of the time (2 hours). Even transferring the entire 1.2 TB across a Silver Peak-accelerated connection could occur in less than six hours. But acquiring WAN optimization for the remote site would force DaveHabgood’s company to spend about $16,500 if they wanted to purchase WAN optimization hardware (Riverbed 1050-M) at the remote site. Even virtual software, which is far less expensive, will still run $6361/year (Silver Peak VX-2000).

But optimizing AWS, the remote site, would be negligible.  AWS’s utility licensing means WAN optimization can be purchased for just a few dollars, since it’s only needed for the duration of the transfer. With Silver Peak VX for AWS, Dave would spend about $1.97 per hour for optimization and Amazon’s compute charges or about $4 to accelerate a 40 GB transfer. Even if done every business day of the month that’s only $80 a month for the AWS portion. Another ~$600/month would be needed at the customer’s premises.

Utility licensing may not always drive down prices; some applications need IT infrastructure in place 24×7. But when IT or business processes are only needed for short durations, utility pricing can make an enormous difference, especially for IT pros like DaveHabgood.

Image credit: MoneyBlogNewz (flickr) – CC-BY-2.0