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2/3/2010
01:42 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
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Cloud Storage Under Attack

There is a case of piling on going on right now as it relates to cloud storage. While I agree that the term has been hijacked, stretched and bent by more than a few storage vendors, that does not mean that the whole concept is bad. While the name is as poorly chosen as "social media", the concept is dead on.

There is a case of piling on going on right now as it relates to cloud storage. While I agree that the term has been hijacked, stretched and bent by more than a few storage vendors, that does not mean that the whole concept is bad. While the name is as poorly chosen as "social media", the concept is dead on.You the storage manager want storage solutions that are easier to manage, have no practical limits to scaling of either capacity or performance and are extremely cost effective. This is being driven largely by the reality that you simply don't have the time or resources to keep up with the pace at which demands on capacity or performance is growing. You need the storage to take care of itself. The architectures that are behind cloud storage accomplish many of these goals.

These needs are being driven by the reality of the times in which IT lives. You no longer have the luxury of throwing out your old storage system every three years and getting a new one. You have to get more out of your current one. You must be able to upgrade capacity or add performance, not throw the whole thing out.

It is also being driven by the user demands and regulatory realities of keeping data longer. Many storage managers have just given up and are retaining data forever. While I don't advocate that strategy it is happening. Whether its seven years, ten years or indefinitely this is causing another problem; you can't store it all in your own facility, you have to put it somewhere else. Cloud storage providers are a viable option for retention of this data. Finally today's business are increasingly disperse. All the employees are no longer on the same network. Shared application access, file collaboration and content distribution are also ideal uses for external cloud storage.

External cloud storage providers have a laser beam focus on keeping costs down and probably understand more than most that the physical cost of storage is only part of the equation. It is the cost to manage, expand and protect that data that will put them out of business. The storage architectures that are being developed to allow external cloud storage providers to profitably offer these services are the same architectures you need to support internal applications and users.

Whether you call it your internal cloud storage or not really is not the point. The point is you need a storage system that can grow its performance and capacity in small, granular chunks without a forklift upgrade. It needs to do this while being able to be managed by as few people as possible in as little time as possible. That is what many of these cloud storage architectures do.

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George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

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