Effort??? *blink* *blink* *blink*. I suppose the IT person does backups 100% manually??? Sheesh the effort should be marginal, and if the file isn't changing it's not like you need to re-back it up every week or whatever. So let's see:
For each TB of *stale* documents:
1) ~$250 for Tapes (1 local + 1 offsite)
2) $100 for hard drives (1 local online + 1 offline backup)
3) 20 minutes of IT person support (multi-tasking, since all he has to do is plug in hard drive or insert tape and press go) = $40 (assumes $120/hr effective rate)
This assumes you have a small shop, without automated tape loading etc....
So It'll cost a whopping $400 to have 3 backups of the data and have a hard drive ready to spin up if the data is needed...
Yes it might be more complicated in an enterprise level house. But seriously, the price seems reasonable for what you get. I've generated well less than 1TB of documents/emails/etc in 12 years of engineering... Yet I've lost at least a week of accumulated engineering time due to retention policies deleting my email..... 1 week of Engineering time (~$100/hr effective rate) is $4000. Seems like $400 is a good investment to me!
[Note this assumes that DATASETS are treated differently. Transitory data such as: Compilation runs, Recorded Engineering data, etc should never be backed up in the same way as a document. I've probably generated ~1PB of datasets But who needs 1000's compilation runs most of which ended in errors or failed miserably when ran through testing. With the exception of released code, these are useless after a few months because I probably won't be able to figure out what the heck I was debugging anyway. But transitory datasets of this nature rarely fall victim to the data retention policy anyway, precisely because they are transitory... I don't keep the builds. I use a revision control system to allow me to recreate the builds if I needed them for some reason....]