Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Storage Barriers and How to Bulldoze Through Them

Cloud price wars make Storage-as-a-Service more compelling than ever, but other barriers still delay adoption

Spoiler alert: your secret weapon is cloud-integrated storage

Another week, another cloud storage price drop. The barrier of price is slowly melting away as the cloud storage wars rage and prices drop into the pennies per gigabyte per month. Not familiar with the price wars? Here's an abridged version:

But for many organizations, a drop in price alone won't get them the last mile to cloud adoption: there are many other barriers that stand in their way. Read on to learn how to tackle six of the most common barriers to adopting cloud and some strategies for overcoming them.

Put On Your Hardhat: Bulldozing Through the Six Common Barriers To Cloud Storage Adoption
If you've spent any time with CIOs lately, you're likely to hear a lot of excitement about cloud storage, quickly followed up by an equal measure of concern. Here are six barrier quotes I've collected in my recent CIO conversations, with tips on how to bulldoze through them.

Barrier One: "I can't maintain security and compliance in a multi-tenant environment."
Bulldozer:
When tackling any public cloud project, security remains the number one concern for organizations. Look for a solution that can provide you with ironclad end-to-end security, so data is encrypted at rest in the cloud (and ideally on-premise) and in transit, all with the encryption keys kept locally. You can also look for solutions that are compliant with industry standards like HIPAA or FIPS 140-2.

Barrier Two: "With bandwidth constraints, it will take too long to send my data to the cloud."
Bulldozer:
It's true that bandwidth remains a serious challenge for organizations with large volumes of data and narrow pipes. Technologies such as deduplication, compression, and WAN optimization generally found in cloud-integrated storage can help a lot, in some cases reducing data transfer times by up to 75 percent, but it may also make sense for you to take advantage of the physical import/export services that many cloud providers offer today.

Barrier Three: "I'm afraid of vendor lock-in."
Bulldozer:
The fear of the cloud being too much of a "roach motel" is also legitimate - what if the provider goes out of business like Nirvanix did in 2013? Or, a more likely scenario, changing requirements make it more appealing to move to another provider. Or maybe you just want to take advantage of someone else's lower prices. Whatever the reason, having some amount of data mobility is key, and the ability to seamlessly and painless migrate data from one cloud to another is a feature that is beginning to emerge in cloud-integrated storage appliances.

Barrier Four: "Employees need to access data rapidly, and it takes too long to pull it back from the cloud."
Bulldozer:
This is a common concern when dealing with backups to the cloud. Backups can be sent relatively quickly to the cloud with incremental-forevers, and deduplication, but getting them back from the cloud may take a bit longer. That's why such a large number of companies are choosing to take a "disk-to-disk-to-cloud" backup strategy, meaning that backups are cached locally (generally for a few weeks) before being sent off to the cloud. That way, the vast majority of restores will actually be from the local disk, and only rarely will data need to be pulled back from the cloud.

Barrier Five: "My current environment doesn't speak cloud protocols."
Bulldozer:
While ISVs are working quickly to update their applications to work with RESTful protocols, it's true that many still do not have native support for cloud storage. This barrier can easily be overcome with a cloud-connector, such as cloud-integrated storage, that not only speaks REST, but can convert your file or block storage into object storage.

Barrier Six: "I just don't want to."
Bulldozer:
Now for the biggest barrier of all: the cultural one. For organizations that face resistance without a clear rationale, dig deeper to find the core motivations. Is it fear based? Many individuals may fear that they will lose their job if the organization goes down a cloud-intensive path. If fear is the root cause of the resistance, make sure that you have a strong transition and retraining plan for any impacted employees and distribute it widely. In many of these cases, these fears stem from the unknown, which means that a transition and retraining plan has not been effectively communicated (or may not exist).

Cloud-Integrated Storage: Your Secret Weapon to Winning in the Cloud Storage Wars
While the task may seem daunting, incorporating cloud storage into your environment may not be as complex and full of hurdles as you fear. The move does not have to be "all or nothing," and in fact, it shouldn't be, at least at first (see the sidebar for common scenarios for first-time cloud storage users). One solution that can help make your path a little easier is the introduction of a cloud-integrated storage appliance. These solutions - generally physical or virtual appliances that sit on-premise - erase many of the common barriers listed above, including data reduction with deduplication and compression to reduce bandwidth challenges, multi-cloud or cloud agility features to protect against lock-in, a local cache for rapid access to data, ability to integrate existing software solutions and bridge the gap to REST interfaces, and advanced security capabilities to make sure data loss is never an issue.

Getting Your Feet Wet with Cloud Storage, Where to Begin?
Now is the time to start adopting cloud storage, and once you've overcome these six common barriers, you may be wondering, where do I begin? Here are three low-risk scenarios where cloud storage may be a good fit in your organization:

  1. Backups: For years, organizations have taken a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy for their backups, where they keep backups on disk for several weeks or a month, before migrating them off to tape, ship them offsite, and then store for the remainder of the retention cycle.  The challenge is that tape is an inherently risky and time-intensive medium due to the fact that it must be physically handled and shipped. By switching to a disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup architecture, organizations are able to immediately and securely get data offsite, while also reducing time and money spent.
  2. Cold storage: Most organizations have massive amounts of unstructured data, and it's growing faster than almost any other type of data. But at the same time, the vast majority of that data is cold data-no one has touched it or modified it in years.  As file servers become the dumping grounds of the rest of the company, IT struggles to find a way to store this data without breaking the bank on expensive NAS filers. Here lies another compelling use-case for cloud-migrating cold, or little used storage, off to a cold storage clouds like Amazon Glacier or Evault LTS2 could lead to huge cost savings, and improve performance for the local filers.
  3. Archive: One of the culprits behind the massive data growth that we've seen over the past few years is compliance: the need to retain data for legal reasons. Certain industries like financial services and healthcare feel this burden very heavily, although almost all industries face some sort of compliance that governs how they keep data and for how long. Many organizations have tackled this for years with archive software like Symantec Enterprise Vault and object storage like Centera, or even tape, but once again, the cloud presents a viable alternative for archive data as it is extremely durable and resilient and has no risk of technology obsolescence (i.e., you won't need to migrate data every few years).

More Stories By Rachel A. Dines

Rachel A. Dines is a product marketing manager at Riverbed Technology, where she focuses on SteelStore, the company’s cloud-integrated storage solution. Previously, Rachel was an industry analyst at Forrester Research covering resiliency, backup, and cloud. Her research has paved the way for cloud-based resiliency and next generation backup strategies.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Given the popularity of the containers, further investment in the telco/cable industry is needed to transition existing VM-based solutions to containerized cloud native deployments. The networking architecture of the solution isolates the network traffic into different network planes (e.g., management, control, and media). This naturally makes support for multiple interfaces in container orchestration engines an indispensable requirement.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...