|By Nicos Vekiarides||
|March 21, 2013 09:00 AM EDT||
Earlier this year, Gartner published their list of Top 10 Cloud Storage Providers, highlighting key features and differentiators of the top cloud storage providers in the world. More importantly, the report highlights the emergence of a maturing industry of cloud storage providers offering a new option for businesses thinking about their next data storage purchase.
Although each cloud storage provider has a unique set of strengths, nearly all offer a common set of cloud storage benefits that include:
- A nearly unlimited supply of on-demand capacity: organizations can avoid the dreaded cycle of refreshes, upgrades and migrations from running out of capacity
- Multi-site redundancy: most cloud storage providers offer multi-copy and data center redundancy for disaster tolerance
- Reduced maintenance: cloud storage means never having to touch or replace a disk drive or go through storage maintenance cycles, instead outsourcing all storage management to the cloud
- Zero capex expenditure: pay-as-you-go models enable paying only for the capacity in use, eliminating capital equipment expenses, over-purchasing and underutilization
- Reduced cost of ownership: the costs of purchasing, maintaining and managing a local storage infrastructure can be substantial. Forrester has demonstrated a 74% cost savings of cloud storage versus traditional storage.
By integrating the cloud into their storage environments, organizations can relieve themselves of the unrelenting storage cycle burden – data growth –> storage scramble –> endless maintenance –> tech refresh/data migration –> rinse and repeat.
Another consideration when moving data to the cloud is the additional value of cloud-integrated storage, which makes accessing cloud storage as easy and secure as local storage. Cloud-integrated storage enables familiar NAS and SAN interfaces for instant application compatibility and fast local-speed data access among its many benefits.
But while today’s primary drivers toward cloud storage often equate to building a better mousetrap, forward-thinking organizations have stretched their vision and have begun to outline how moving their data to the cloud can be used for competitive advantage. Beyond the common capabilities and benefits, what are other key considerations when looking to deploy cloud storage?
A recent GigaOm article calls cloud storage the crack cocaine of cloud computing. Though this is not an ideal analogy to describe an offering with a very compelling value proposition, truth is, there are various high-value services that can make the cloud more than just a resting place for data. On-demand business continuity/disaster recovery and analytics services are perfect examples of using the cloud as an extension of compute infrastructure in addition to storage. Both represent a great way to derive additional value from moving data to the cloud.
The verdict? Today, cloud-integrated storage can deliver a solution that is more efficient, cost-effective and lower maintenance than traditional storage. And that in itself is probably enough to seriously consider implementing it. But that’s only the beginning. Tomorrow, that same solution will do more than just alleviate you of storage pain – it will unlock a host of services and capabilities that will strengthen your business and deliver competitive advantage.
The cloud storage industry is rapidly maturing and can offer nearly any organization a wealth of benefits. It is worth consideration as a bona fide alternative to traditional storage. Look for differentiators that can provide additional value to your business.
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