GE's Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T) approach was costing them 50 cents per GB/month. Changing to a D2D with remote replication addressed some of their concerns over tape, but was more costly at 79 centers per GB/month. Given that Backup and Archive represent 30 percent of their IT budget, the largest non-application expense, they reviewed their options:
- Continue with their Traditional BU/Archive approach
- Adopt Internal DAS using cheaper SATA disk drives
- Implement an Internal Cloud
- Use External Cloud services
General Electric had a long list of requirements:
- 99.99 percent Availability
- 99.999 percent Reliability and data integrity of the data
- Location independent access
- Meets HIPAA, SAS70, PCI compliance requirements
- Secure 3rd party access
- Eliminate GE operations management personnel
- Documented APIs
- Large file size uploads and resumable uploads (GE owns NBC Universal and some files are very large, movies can be 1.5 TB in size)
- Encryption at rest
- Multi-node capable, in other words, GE uploads it once and the Cloud Storage provider ensures that it is stored in two or more designated locations.
- Child-level billing/management. Here child relates to department, division or other sub-division for reporting and management purposes.
- Data integrity verification, such as with MD5 hash codes
- Challenge the skeptics
- Run small pilot projects to get familiar with the technology and provider
- Socialize (have a beer or coffee with) your Security and Legal teams early and often
- Consider using multiple cloud providers
- Test many different scenarios
The end result? They now have Cloud-based backups and archive for their GE Corp, NBC Universal and GE Asset Management divisions running at only 32 cents per GB/month, representing a 40-60 percent savings over their previous methods. This includes backups of their external Web sites, archives of their digital and production assets, RMAN backups including development/staging databases. They plan to add out-of-region compliance archive in 2010. They also plan to monetize their intellectual property by offering "CloudStorage Manager" as a software offering for others.