3 hidden costs to watch out for when purchasing a backup solution

Have you had any experience of comparing different backup solutions? It must have been difficult to seek out the one among various options as you might get caught in an avalanche

of features and licensing models from the very beginning. If you’re looking for a backup solution, I hope this post will give you a guiding principle to steer clear of potential pricing pitfalls.

To begin with, there are two types of business models in the backup market:

  • Backup hardware & backup software sold separately
  • All-in-one integrated backup appliance

For most companies, one of the major reasons they simply purchase backup software is that they can leverage their existing hardware. What they often overlook, though, is take software license fees into TCO consideration.

“Wait, but how expensive a software license could be? And what hidden costs should I be aware of?”

Behind the scenes: Hidden Costs

Take VMware backup for example. Below are three common hidden costs you often overlook:

1. Licensing & maintenance cost

In most VM backup cases, vendors take different approaches to charging you per CPU socket or per VM host (system). Do you know US$800 per host is not always more expensive than US$500 per socket? For example, if you’re running 3 ESXi hosts on a 2-socket VMware server, you should not just focus on the price tag, but rather compare the total cost more carefully.

The table below shows how licensing models work in different user cases.

Aside from licensing fees, don’t forget to add maintenance renewal costs you need to pay for software updates, patches, and technical support. Do you know the cost of annual support renewals can account for 22% to 27% of the perpetual license cost?

As the graph below shows, if we compare 3-year total cost on backup software, there’s almost NO cost difference between perpetual & subscription licenses after counting in support renewal costs.

2. Management Cost

When it comes to management, since the integration of software and hardware involves two companies with different support systems, businesses need to look at software and hardware separately to find out the root cause when a problem arises.

If you don’t have your own professional IT team, you’ll probably have to leave your problems open to different vendors whenever there’s an issue, which often results in more wasted time and effort in the end. 

3. Storage Cost

The last is something we often neglect – the cost of hardware. I’ve heard many businesses stuck by limited budget usually go for freemium software. But we all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch – freemiums usually come with feature limitations, the major drawback of which would be to perform a FULL backup every time.

Take a simple scenario as an example – if you want to keep daily backups for 7 days, and the data size is 1TB with the average daily change rate at 5%, you’ll find incremental backups save 80% on storage. By contrast, it’s very likely you waste over 6x more space at the destination server compared with freemium software. Make sure you also include the cost of hard drives and server hardware especially when you want to back up more complex business workloads.

It all adds up in the end

How about a backup solution that can help you minimize all possible hidden costs?

We compare the license fees from other backup vendors with similar feature sets. Just in the first year, Synology Active Backup solution saves you more than 50%. The cost savings can be more significant if you compare Dell EMC or HPE as backup storage servers, or if you need to back up more business workloads.

In short, with the money you pay for a backup software license (no matter it’s subscription-based or perpetual) for the first year, you can actually get a Synology NAS while protecting business workloads on virtual, physical, Office 365, and G Suite – both accessible with a price roughly the same or even less than the 1st year license fee.

If your backup software supports global deduplication, it can further improve storage efficiency. For example, SHISEIDO Taiwan saved 54% (28TB out of the total 58TB) storage usage with global deduplication in its business environment. Without this technology, it could have cost approximately $1500 to store 30TB data on hard drives and expansion units.


Recap how Synology Active Backup for Business compares with other backup solutions (freemium or premium licensed software) in the table below.

Besides cost advantage, Active Backup also integrates plenty of features you can find in modern backup software, allowing you to manage backup tasks from one simple console and assure you of fast and reliable recovery.

Want to know more? Watch the video here.