Integrate cloud tiering with on-premises storage

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudStorage.

Cloud and on-premises storage are increasingly becoming integrated. This means cloud tiering is just another option available to storage administrators. Organizations aren’t likely to move 100% of their data into cloud services, but most will want to take advantage of cloud storage benefits for at least some data. The best approaches to using cloud storage in a hybrid fashion create a seamless integration between on-premises storage resources and the cloud. The cloud tiering integration can be accomplished with purpose-built software, cloud-enabled applications or the capabilities built into storage systems or cloud gateway products.

This may be the year that public cloud adoption finally moves beyond development projects and Web 2.0 companies and enters squarely into the mainstream of IT. Cloud service providers can offer tremendous advantages in terms of elasticity, agility, scalable capacity and utility pricing. Of course, there remain some unavoidable concerns about security, competitiveness, long-term costs and performance. Also, not all applications or workloads are cloud-ready and most organizations are not able to operate fully in a public cloud. However, these concerns lead to what we are seeing in practice as a hybrid cloud approach, attempting to combine the best of both worlds.

Taneja Group research supports that view, determining that only about 10% of enterprise IT organizations are even considering moving wholesale into public clouds. The vast majority of IT shops continue to envision future architectures with cloud and on-premises infrastructure augmented by hyperconverged products, at least within the next 3-5 years. Yet, in those same shops, increasing storage consolidation, virtualization and building out cloud services are the top IT initiatives planned out for the next 18 months. These initiatives lean toward using available public cloud capabilities where it makes sense — supporting Web apps and mobile users, collaboration and sharing, deep archives, off-site backups, DRaaS and even, in some cases, as a primary storage tier.

The amount of data that many IT shops will have to store, manage, protect and help process, by many estimates, is predicted to double every year for the foreseeable future. Given very real limits on data centers, staffing and budget, it will become increasingly harder to deal with this data growth completely in-house.

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Signs it may be time to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudStorage.

The cloud is gaining traction, but the public cloud raises security concerns. Learn why a hybrid cloud strategy can offer businesses more benefits.

If you’re like most data storage professionals, you’re likely faced with the prospect of phasing cloud storage into your traditional storage environment. Many companies are reluctant to move into public cloud storage for obvious reasons — loss of control, oversight, security and concerns about how the cloud impacts compliance requirements, to name just a few. But the public cloud also offers compelling economics and elastic computing opportunities that have some businesses wanting to seize the potential benefits.

A sign that it may be time to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy is when business folks start contracting directly with public cloud providers for shadow IT services. Some of the reasons public clouds are attractive to business folks, assuming it’s not simply the friction of having to work with an underfunded internal IT group, include:

  • Economic elasticity. Cloud services are available under a number of on-demand agreements. All of those shift the IT budget from periodic large Capex investments to smoother Opex payments. It’s possible that over time it may be more expensive from a TCO perspective to use large amounts of public cloud services, but the ability to continually adjust the volume of services needed while paying for essentially only what you use makes a lot of sense in the face of unpredictable business environments.
  • Agility and quickness. Massive amounts of resources can be spun up in minutes when needed, as opposed to the days, weeks or months required for IT to procure, stage and deliver new infrastructure. At the same time, these resources can be shifted, almost on-demand, as needs change.
  • Broad functionality. Today’s public clouds offer any range or level of cloud outsourcing desired, including low-level infrastructure, container-like development platforms, fully functional applications and complete subscription business services.

The sensible cloud storage strategy is a hybrid approach in which IT retains control of cloud consumption and integrates it with on-premises resources as appropriate.

But there’s another side to the story. When business essentially goes outside the IT department to contract with public cloud services, problems can arise. That’s when issues of governance and control surface, including lack of compliance oversight, loss of data management control and potential security risks…

…(read the complete as-published article there)

How to become an internal hybrid cloud service provider

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudStorage.

Working on a hybrid cloud project? Mike Matchett explains the steps an organization should take to become an internal hybrid cloud service provider.

One major key to success with a hybrid cloud project is to ensure that IT fundamentally transitions into an internal hybrid cloud service provider. This means understanding that business users are now your clients. You must now proactively create and offer services instead of the traditional reactive stance of working down an endless queue of end-user requests. It becomes critical to track and report on the service quality delivered and the business service utilization. Without those metrics, it’s impossible to optimize the services for price, performance, surge capacity, availability or whatever factor might be important to the overall business.

Every cloud storage option has its pros and cons. Depending on your specific needs, the size of your environment, and your budget, it’s essential to weigh all cloud and on-prem options. Download this comprehensive guide in which experts analyze and evaluate each cloud storage option available today so you can decide which cloud model – public, private, or hybrid – is right for you.

Hallmarks of a successful hybrid organization include:

  • A renewed focus on implementing higher levels of automation, spurred by the need to provide clients ways to provision and scale services in an agile manner. This automation usually extends to other parts of IT, like helping to build non-disruptive maintenance processes.
  • An effective process monitoring and management scheme that works as cloud scales to help ensure service-level agreements.
  • Clients aware of what they are consuming and using, even if they’re not actually seeing a bill for the services.

Perhaps the first step is to evaluate the involved workloads and their data sets to look for good hybrid opportunities. If you find that workloads are currently fine or require specialized support, it might be best to leave them alone for now and focus instead on workloads that are based on common platforms.

Next, it’s imperative to address the following implementation concerns before letting real data travel across hybrid boundaries…

…(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)