Data Storage: Managing Unstructured Data in the Cloud: 12 Factors to Consider
Data Center Consolidation Moving Data Further and Further from Users
As enterprise organizations expand to compete in a global economy, IT staff face new challenges in providing the increasingly distributed workforce efficient access to essential data. Globally distributed teams need shared read/write access to large files and data sets, which significantly increases the complexity of data management. This continually introduces data synchronization and accuracy issues that can adversely affect the business efficiency.
Cloud Storage Services Offer Reduced Cost, Complexity
With the growing maturity of cloud-based storage services, enterprises of all sizes have the ability to take advantage of data storage outsourcing. Utilizing these services can significantly reduce the enterprise storage infrastructure capital and operational costs, greatly reduce the man-hours needed to manage unstructured data storage and introduce a degree of storage flexibility that has never been available before in the enterprise. Additionally, the cloud services allow an unprecedented economy of scale.
Forget Thin Provisioning; Lets Talk Zero Provisioning
Cloud-based storage pricing from most service providers is based on actual storage capacity used. You pay as you go and for only the amount of data you use in that time window. No longer do storage architects need to purchase, install and manage storage capacity beyond their current storage needs.
Flexibility for What You Need Right Now
If your shop uses 200TB of storage today, you pay for 200TB. If your shop has a sudden need to add an additional 34TB tomorrow, no infrastructure upgrades are needed; you simply pay for the additional capacity during the billing cycle. If some of that capacity need was temporary, you can simply delete the unneeded data from the cloud, which reduces the amount of overall capacity the business uses and is billed for. An internal storage infrastructure doesnt allow for this rapid shift in storage capacity levels or budget flexibility.
Your Data is Safe: Part One
If you've ever been to a collocation data center, you know those places are physically secure. The chances of an unauthorized person getting through several levels of physical security to gain access to your data are minuscule. Check the service offerings of any cloud storage provider, and you'll find that these data centers are not only secured against unwanted physical access, they've been designed to remain operational through any number of natural and man-made disasters.
Your Data is Safe: Part Two
Beyond physical security, it is important for the enterprise to lock down its data to thwart malicious access. A growing number of vendors offer cloud storage gateway appliances that provide a significant level of data security, both in transit and at rest. Gateways handle the front end of the data storage process. The data is actually stored on the infrastructure of any number of service providers, such as Rackspace, AT&T, i365, Amazon S3, and/or others.
Backup, Disaster Recovery Doesnt Have to Be Difficult
Backup and DR processes and requirements are becoming increasingly complex, costly and time-consuming. Cloud storage services can significantly reduce this cost and complexity. To store a large data set in the cloud, the answer can be as simple as replicating that data to multiple geographically dispersed locations.
Decide Intelligently Which Data and Applications are the Best Candidates for Cloud Storage
Like any technology, there exists no one-size-fits-all solution. It's the same with cloud-based storage. Carefully examine your current storage infrastructure, the applications that create the data and the consumers of the data. The more analysis you perform, the clearer it becomes that cloud-based storage is usually a perfect fit for Tier 2 data and for data sets that need to be shared across multiple locations.
More Than Capacity: A Unified Global NAS
Cloud storage services, combined with the appropriate cloud gateway solution, present the enterprise the ability to deploy a storage architecture that acts as a unified global NAS. Data producers and consumers in multiple global locations have managed real-time access to mission-critical data, enabling an unprecedented level of collaboration and efficiency.
More Than Capacity: A Globally Collaborative NAS
Globally distributed teams need the ability to work collaboratively on very large data sets, such as hardware and software designs, financial data, geological data, etc. Current methods of providing this shared read/write access are challenging at best and present the risk of having perpetually out-of-sync data. With cloud storage, as well as an appropriate cloud gateway solution, these challenges have been virtually eliminated.
More than Capacity: Policy-Based Data Replication
With cloud storage, combined with a sophisticated cloud gateway solution, enterprise storage architects have the ability to not only provide collaborative access to the centrally stored dataset, but they have the ability to easily move certain subsets of that data to fully synchronized on-site storage.
Its Ready Right Now, Its Future-Proof and You Have the Power
Finally, cloud storage solutions are still in their early market stages and the technology, the reliability and the economics will continue to improve in the coming years. With a sophisticated cloud gateway solution, an enterprise has the ultimate power. There are no long-term commitments; if a better service becomes available, the replication capabilities of the cloud controller allow you to easily migrate to a new service with unprecedented flexibility to the ability to add capacity on the fly.