Replication vs. Igneous

A typical customer protecting 1 petabyte of data with replication can reduce their backup costs by 57% with Igneous - saving them over $158,000 per year.

5 Reasons Replication Customers Switch to Igneous

Customers increasingly turn to Igneous to help them reduce or eliminate inefficient replication environments, reduce hardware and datacenter costs and to leverage the cloud as a target for data protection. We've identified five main reasons our customers make the switch and have outlined them below. 

1. Purpose-Built for Data Protection

Replication was created as a disaster recovery solution, not a data protection solution.  This mismatch leaves IT teams trying to solve a problem with a tool that isn't designed or priced for the job at hand.  Igneous is a fully-managed, software-as-a-service solution built specifically for handling enterprise backup at petabyte-scale.  While some clients choose to replace their entire secondary storage tier with Igneous, others leverage Igneous for NAS backup at scale, while retaining their replication environment for its original intention - as a disaster recovery tier to bring critical systems back online. 

2. Architected for Performance with Zero Hardware

Igneous is multi-threaded, infinitely scalable and requires zero hardware.  Our architecture means you'll never need to buy more dedicated hardware protect your critical data, or lease more data center space to store additional racks.  Deployment is so simple, you can do it remotely, without ever having to set foot in your datacenter - allowing you easily implement Igneous in multi-site environments.

3. Designed to Eliminate Vendor Lock-In

Replication requires vendor-specific, like-for-like storage architectures.   This creates vendor lock-in and restricts data movement.  Igneous can read from any on-prem storage environment and backup to any on-prem storage or cloud target, including backing up directly to cloud archive tiers. This flexibility allows customers to choose where they want their backup data to live and makes for incredibly simple backup to cloud workflows at enterprise scale.  

4. Optimized for Storage Efficiency

Backup datasets must maintain version histories of changed files, and because backup copies are often retained for months or years, secondary storage often requires far more capacity than primary NAS.  It is not uncommon for a secondary storage tier to require 1.3-3.2x the amount of storage as the primary tier to account for versioning, erasure encoding, resiliency and general system overhead.  Igneous customers typically see a 40% increase in storage efficiency compared to replication due to compression and the elimination of storage overhead that reduces useable capacity, resulting in far less capacity required on your storage target to protect your critical data.  

5. Unparalleled Performance at 50% of the Cost

By eliminating on-prem hardware requirements, leveraging low cost cloud archive tiers for storage and providing a managed-service that requires less IT management - Igneous consistently saves petabyte-scale replication customers 50% or more on their data protection efforts while eliminating massive amounts of IT complexity.  

We've run the numbers so you don't have to

Read our "True Cost of Backup" whitepaper for a detailed breakdown on backup cost TCOs  for replication and cloud - including hardware, software, datacenter and management costs.

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The Challenges with Replication

Storage experts know the pros and cons of replication, but in our countless conversations with customers on this topic, the pain usually falls into four major buckets.

Replication Was Not Designed for Cloud

Replication requires vendor-specific hardware in your secondary storage tier, preventing enterprises from capitalizing on the rapid drop in cloud storage pricing.

Igneous provides flexibility about where your backup or archive data resides, whether that is existing on-prem storage hardware or in the cloud.


Replication Increases Vendor Lock-In

Replication locks enterprises into buying more hardware, software and services from their primary storage vendor(s), reducing agility and adding unnecessary complexity to your IT infrastructure. 

Igneous reduces vendor lock-in by allowing you to read data from any source and write backup and archive data to any target, including both on-prem and cloud platforms.

Replication Was Not Built For Backup

Replication was built for disaster recovery and lacks key features needed in a true data protection solution such as indexing, incremental-forever backups, configurable restore targets, immutability and geographic redundancy.

Igneous was built for data-protection at enterprise scale, providing these critical protection features and more to protect you from data loss, corruption and ransomware.

Replication Is
Hardware Intensive

Blindly replicating all of your file data to secondary storage is inefficient.  Replication results in secondary storage tiers that are often 1.3-3.2x the capacity of primary tiers, expanding your datacenter footprint.

Igneous provides enterprise data protection with zero hardware,  leveraging ultra-fast cloud direct connects to take advantage of ultra-low cost cloud storage without the headaches of hardware

Learn How Replication Customers Save Millions with Igneous

From Fortune 500 companies to cutting edge life sciences firms, learn how customers are using Igneous to protect their critical datasets at a fraction of the cost of replication.

View Customer Stories

Customer Saves $8.5M with Igneous vs. Isilon SyncIQ 

As one of the largest genomic research institutes in the world, this life sciences organization understood the challenges of managing unstructured data at scale.  Their NAS footprint had expanded to 25 petabytes, making it hard to identify what data was being used and was not being used so they could execute on an archive strategy to free up primary storage. 

In addition to visibility problems, the customer was relying on Isilon SyncIQ for data protection, replicating their massive dataset to a secondary storage tier, requiring a significant amount of additional hardware just to protect their data.  They had started leveraging Google Cloud Storage, but without a simple solution to backup and archive their data to the cloud with Isilon, they had invested significant time and resources into building and maintaining open source scripts to move their data to the cloud.

Igneous provided a software-only solution running on VMs that was able to quickly scan and index their full dataset and backup that data to Google Cloud Storage.  With Igneous, the customer was able to move 3.7 petabytes of data to GCP Archive class storage in just 3 weeks, eliminating their dependency on hardware replication with SyncIQ - resulting in a 64% reduction in storage costs by removing the need for over 50 nodes of Isilon storage in their secondary storage tier.

Read the Full Customer Story


Life Sciences Company

This customer had 500TB of research data that lived on primary storage without a secondary copy and was planning to acquire new research equipment that would generate petabytes of additional data per year.  They needed to protect this data, but expanding their Isilon replication cluster was not cost effective. Igneous enabled them to shrink their NAS footprint, eliminate home-grown rsync solutions and back their critical research data up to low-cost cloud targets on AWS and GCP.


Consumer Brand

This customer had petabytes of media and marketing collateral spread across 12 sites around the world. They were using Quantum StorNext for primary storage and replicating that to secondary StorNext instances via rSync - requiring them to purchase more hardware than needed and rely on error-prone rSync processes to protect that data.  With Igneous, they were able to repurpose their secondary storage hardware to expand primary storage by writing backups to AWS and improve reliability by eliminating brittle replication scripts.

Request a Custom Savings & Performance Analysis

We're so confident that Igneous will help you reduce backup costs, eliminate on-prem storage footprint and improve your data protection performance - we'll prove it to you with a custom TCO analysis based on your replication environment.  


Request TCO Analysis

Understanding the True Costs of Replication

The real costs of replication as a data protection solution fall into four key areas.  We break these costs down into a cost per TiB of primary storage protected per year so we can compare all backup options (tape, replication and cloud) using the exact same approach.

Hardware Costs

While hardware costs will vary significantly depending on the vendor, amount of data, density and performance of the secondary storage environment, the costs of hardware account for about 37% of the total cost of replication.  With an assumption that secondary storage hardware will depreciate over 5 years - we estimate the cost per TiB per year for replication hardware alone averages out to $50-512 per TiB of primary storage protected per year.  

Software Costs

Enabling replication in your enterprise storage environment requires not just secondary storage hardware, but a number of other costs associated with backup; software licenses, snapshot capabilities, operating systems, and ongoing maintenance.  Our customer research estimates that replication software costs average $63-$320 per TiB of primary storage protected per year. You can find all the calculations behind these numbers in our published report here.

Datacenter Costs

Because your replication environment sits in the datacenter, there will be building costs and power and cooling costs to account for as well. Based on typical costs of a rack in the United States and average energy costs to power that rack, we estimate these at $6-$40 per TiB of primary storage protected per year.

Management Costs

Our research shows that - assuming that the fully burdened cost to an enterprise for an IT administrator is around $120,000 per year - managing backups and secondary storage typically requires a full-time IT admin for approximately 10 secondary nodes. We've outlined these assumptions in detail here, but they total up to a range of $16-$40 per TiB of primary storage protected per year.

The True Costs of Replication
(per TiB of primary storage protected, per year)

Hardware Costs


Software Costs


Datacenter Costs


Management Costs


Total Cost per TiB per year


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Replication vs. Igneous
TCO Comparison

A typical customer with 1 petabyte of data on primary storage is estimated to spend $279,552 per year protecting their data with replication.

This same customer will spend $120,832 per year protecting this data with Igneous, including the cost to back this data up to AWS, Azure or GCP.

Cut Backup Costs by 57% and Save Over $158,000/yr with Igneous

Download the "The True Cost of Backup" whitepaper or contact us if you'd like us to perform a TCO analysis for your existing replication environment.

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