Get the most from cloud-based storage services

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchStorage.

We have been hearing about the inevitable transition to the cloud for IT infrastructure since before the turn of the century. But, year after year, storage shops quickly become focused on only that year’s prioritized initiatives, which tend to be mostly about keeping the lights on and costs low. A true vision-led shift to cloud-based storage services requires explicit executive sponsorship from the business side of an organization. But unless you cynically count the creeping use of shadow IT as an actual strategic directive to do better as an internal service provider, what gets asked of you is likely — and unfortunately — to perform only low-risk tactical deployments or incremental upgrades.

Not exactly the stuff of business transformations.

Cloud adoption at a level for maximum business impact requires big executive commitment. That amount of commitment is, quite frankly, not easy to generate.

…(read the complete as-published article there)

What are the advantages to using a hybrid cloud model for backup?

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudStorage.

Hybrid clouds are most frequently used for backup purposes because they relieve enterprises of the need to use a secondary data center.

The hybrid cloud model tends to get used today mostly for cold storage — or backup and disaster recovery purposes.

Certainly that situation is evolving. People are using cloud storage and hybrid cloud storage for more use cases than ever, such as experimenting with partition data for big data analytics, or looking at some applications that were born in the cloud and figuring out how to make them work with data that’s on-site.

But today, they’re using it by and large as a cold storage tier. Using the hybrid cloud as a backup site is really a great thing because you don’t have to build a complete second data center or another off-site repository. If you just have one data center — or primary data center — you can take those backup images and put them into a public cloud.

After that, you can pull those images out at any point. But the great thing is you don’t have to pull them out back to the exact same place. If you lost your primary site and you want to restore those images to a second site or a different site, you can do that. If you’re careful about how you build this and you’re completely virtualized, you can restore your backup images to the same cloud or even a different cloud. So now, if you lose your primary site, you can still back up and restore within the cloud…

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Cloud has a silver lining for ROBO storage

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchDataBackup.

Providing and managing storage for remote and branch offices can be a challenge, but a hybrid approach using local and cloud-based storage may be the best solution.

article_Cloud-has-a-silver-lining-for-ROBO-storageStorage managers know that providing great data storage services to remote or branch offices (ROBOs) isn’t simply a matter of replicating a single, small office solution or extending data center storage to each ROBO with a WAN. But some vendors still insist that their traditional storage and data protection products can easily extend to cover ROBO needs, perhaps with just a few add-ons, a third-party product or two, and a bit of custom scripting. What they don’t mention is how quickly costs can climb, how tough management can be, and what to do with users who aren’t happy about compromising performance, accessibility or protection.

But there is hope. I’ve seen a couple of key trends that bode well for ROBO storage. First, cloud-based and cloud-enabled services are providing new opportunities to rethink and redesign storage services for distributed and mobile use cases. ROBOs are by definition distributed, and their users tend to be highly mobile. Second, some vendors are taking advantage of cloud services to build specific products to address ROBO storage challenges.

…(read the complete as-published article there)

EMC Atmos 2.1 Accelerates Cloud Value

(Excerpt from original post on the Taneja Group News Blog)

Object storage is certainly a hot topic, and it’s rising above it’s old data retention “jail” perception. And for good reasons. We think due to cloud storage building and adoption, increasingly mobile users and distributed apps, the benefits of active archiving and retaining ever bigger data sets that having a solid object storage strategy becomes significantly important going into 2013.

EMC is aiming to be a key part of that object strategy – today releasing Atmos 2.1 making wider adoption not only possible, but more profitable for both in-house cloud builders and service providers. There are some performance improvements under the hood (for larger file read/write), and significant increases in manageability intended to support ever larger deployments. But we think the cloud accelerators that enable better integration to organizational needs are going to provide the biggest bang. This latest version comes with expanded browser integration, an enhanced GeoDrive, more developer tools, and even some support for transitioning traditional apps to the cloud (bulk ingest, CAS metadata).  The theme is definitely to broaden the integration and hasten the adoption of cloud storage, gaining both cloud economics and enhanced productivity.

Atmos is already a great cloud object storage solution for web developers, but now also provides an API for Android, fast taking over the mobile marketplace. For developers in general, Atmos 2.1 can now provide anonymous URLs, which means those developers can easily build one time upload/download features into their apps (this is key for many collaboration use cases –  picture or image uploads, external file sharing, content distribution and other schemes).  Atmos 2.1 also supports “named objects”, which may ease certain kinds of distributed development challenges.

GeoDrive, a free addon to licensed Atmos customers, provides a secure, cached, drag and drop cloud drive interface. GeoDrive really makes collaboration easy by eliminating the need to set up complicated shares or mount points.  Now with GeoDrive 1.1, there are a bunch of enhancements including built-in data encryption and a CIFS Cloud Gateway so you don’t always need client side software. Shareable URL’s bring more collaboration into the picture to improve the private “dropbox” use case.  And collaboration is truly going global with GeoDrive now available in 10 languages (Atmos itself is already highly suited for distributed global cloud storage).

Perhaps most important is the new Native (Amazon) S3 API support.  By enabling customers to migrate S3 apps to Atmos (and vice-versa), Atmos cloud providers can now offer hybrid and mixed solutions alternatives, without threatening vendor lock-in.  Enterprises holding back because of fears of vendor lock-in (or that were tied into S3) can now consider the various SLA’s, services, and price options presented by Atmos powered options.

…(read the full post)