News
6/27/2008
05:45 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cloud Storage 101 - Part One

It seems like the hype-o-meter on cloud computing and cloud storage has been turned up a few notches lately. How real is this emerging market and how will the players begin to settle in? At its most simplistic, cloud storage is disk at the end of a wire that resides outside of your data center. It creates a "storage as a service" model that is delivered over the Internet. Many are positioning this as storage for your older digital assets, essentially an archive.

It seems like the hype-o-meter on cloud computing and cloud storage has been turned up a few notches lately. How real is this emerging market and how will the players begin to settle in? At its most simplistic, cloud storage is disk at the end of a wire that resides outside of your data center. It creates a "storage as a service" model that is delivered over the Internet. Many are positioning this as storage for your older digital assets, essentially an archive.Right now I would break the market into two groups, and over the next few entries we will explore them. At the high level there are the companies that will provide you with a complete turnkey solution based on their own intellectual property, and there are those that will sell either you or service providers the technology needed to build your own cloud. This will either be existing storage or archive hardware providers selling to the cloud service providers, or new companies designing cloud storage-specific technology to be used by those service providers.

The turnkey providers are what I would call the traditional cloud. Companies in the section of the market include Amazon's S3 and Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network. While Amazon seems to be targeting the small business market, Nirvanix is more focused on the larger enterprise. I'm not sure if a market this young can have a traditional anything yet, but for now these guys are it. (I'm sure I missed some and if I did it is not a slight, just it's hard to get to everyone.) These companies are providing a turnkey solution based on their technology that allows them to be more than just a provider of bandwidth with some disk attached to it. Their intellectual property is typically a clustered filesystem with a grid architecture designed from the ground up for cloud storage. It is optimized to be very cost effective, highly redundant, and extremely scalable. In almost every case that I have seen, they're using industry standard servers as nodes within the cluster and have the ability to mix node types as they scale. All offer some form of replication or mirroring to make sure that data is stored on multiple sites. While this is obviously valuable for disaster recovery, it also can be used for localization of media content. Meaning that your hot new Internet-only TV show can be delivered from a storage platform that is the closest to your customers, no matter where they are in the world. They use cases for this type of cloud storage, offering focus on four primary areas -- online archiving and backup, media storage and delivery, embedded applications, and Web 2.0.

Will users embrace cloud storage? There is a need to simplify the data center. You can either simplify with new technologies like storage virtualization or you can give your problem to someone else and let them store it. There are some compelling reasons why you might choose cloud storage, especially for younger companies needing to deliver media. Cloud storage allows you to put your media on a reliable, localized infrastructure. Archiving old data to a cloud that you don't have to worry about also is appealing, as is the price point; typically less than 50 cents a GB replicated.

The other two use cases, embedded applications and Web 2.0, need to mature themselves, but clearly they're almost tailor made for use with cloud storage. The advantage to a turnkey cloud infrastructure is that for a very low entry cost, you are live and ready to go, and for many users that may be compelling enough.

In our next entry we will discuss vendors that make "cloud-able" products, essentially companies that enable either you or a service provider to offer storage as a service. Later we will get into the gritty details on the solutions.

George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4594
Published: 2014-10-25
The Payment for Webform module 7.x-1.x before 7.x-1.5 for Drupal does not restrict access by anonymous users, which allows remote anonymous users to use the payment of other anonymous users when submitting a form that requires payment.

CVE-2014-0476
Published: 2014-10-25
The slapper function in chkrootkit before 0.50 does not properly quote file paths, which allows local users to execute arbitrary code via a Trojan horse executable. NOTE: this is only a vulnerability when /tmp is not mounted with the noexec option.

CVE-2014-1927
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly quote strings, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "$(" command-substitution sequences, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-1928....

CVE-2014-1928
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly escape characters, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "\" (backslash) characters to form multi-command sequences, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-1929
Published: 2014-10-25
python-gnupg 0.3.5 and 0.3.6 allows context-dependent attackers to have an unspecified impact via vectors related to "option injection through positional arguments." NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2013-7323.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.