How to Effectively Manage Storage and Protect Data in the Cloud

Organizations of all sizes have to deal with an economic reality when it comes to cloud computing: cloud computing requires storage. These budgets continue to remain relatively flat even as demand for cloud storage capacity grows at a rate of nearly 60 percent per year. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Stephen Wojtowecz explains how organizations can effectively manage and protect the data stored in cloud environments.


The shift to cloud brings new challenges to data storage, which is already complicated by virtualized systems, tape storage, network-attached storage (NAS) and other data storage formats. Because all data in a cloud lives in the same shared system, management of the data becomes paramount in maintaining service levels and securing critical business information.

Organizations should evaluate how their storage resources can most effectively be used in the cloud. Before they can do that, it's best to categorize the model of cloud computing in the organization. Three types of cloud computing dominate the landscape: private (in which a company hosts, owns and manages its own cloud infrastructure), public (in which a third party owns and manages the infrastructure) and hybrid (in which the public and private models are combined).

In hybrid models, the public cloud often acts as an overflow facility for the private cloud or is used to satisfy other application needs such as off-site information protection. The underlying characteristic of each is that cloud services need to be available and reliable to users, while effectively optimizing resources and providing a pay-as-you-go delivery model.

Keys to effective cloud storage management

Despite advantages of the cloud, not all organizations gain the maximum benefits. When outsourcing business processes to the cloud, organizations can select service options such as performance and capacity levels that best suit an organization's particular needs. Crucial components for storing critical data in the cloud are storage management, data protection and disaster recovery. For example, a retail company could opt to store and manage data (such as in-store transactions, online purchases and supplier details) on a private cloud because it allows for better control and access to sensitive data. The retailer, however, might decide that keeping copies of data for disaster recovery on a public cloud service is a lower-risk option.

Whether it chooses to leverage a public, private or hybrid cloud model, the company needs to ensure that their cloud has automated data lifecycle management (DLM), built-in data reduction and advanced application protection, to name a few.