Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Paul Simmons, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Storage Barriers and How to Bulldoze Through Them

Cloud price wars make Storage-as-a-Service more compelling than ever, but other barriers still delay adoption

Spoiler alert: your secret weapon is cloud-integrated storage

Another week, another cloud storage price drop. The barrier of price is slowly melting away as the cloud storage wars rage and prices drop into the pennies per gigabyte per month. Not familiar with the price wars? Here's an abridged version:

But for many organizations, a drop in price alone won't get them the last mile to cloud adoption: there are many other barriers that stand in their way. Read on to learn how to tackle six of the most common barriers to adopting cloud and some strategies for overcoming them.

Put On Your Hardhat: Bulldozing Through the Six Common Barriers To Cloud Storage Adoption
If you've spent any time with CIOs lately, you're likely to hear a lot of excitement about cloud storage, quickly followed up by an equal measure of concern. Here are six barrier quotes I've collected in my recent CIO conversations, with tips on how to bulldoze through them.

Barrier One: "I can't maintain security and compliance in a multi-tenant environment."
Bulldozer:
When tackling any public cloud project, security remains the number one concern for organizations. Look for a solution that can provide you with ironclad end-to-end security, so data is encrypted at rest in the cloud (and ideally on-premise) and in transit, all with the encryption keys kept locally. You can also look for solutions that are compliant with industry standards like HIPAA or FIPS 140-2.

Barrier Two: "With bandwidth constraints, it will take too long to send my data to the cloud."
Bulldozer:
It's true that bandwidth remains a serious challenge for organizations with large volumes of data and narrow pipes. Technologies such as deduplication, compression, and WAN optimization generally found in cloud-integrated storage can help a lot, in some cases reducing data transfer times by up to 75 percent, but it may also make sense for you to take advantage of the physical import/export services that many cloud providers offer today.

Barrier Three: "I'm afraid of vendor lock-in."
Bulldozer:
The fear of the cloud being too much of a "roach motel" is also legitimate - what if the provider goes out of business like Nirvanix did in 2013? Or, a more likely scenario, changing requirements make it more appealing to move to another provider. Or maybe you just want to take advantage of someone else's lower prices. Whatever the reason, having some amount of data mobility is key, and the ability to seamlessly and painless migrate data from one cloud to another is a feature that is beginning to emerge in cloud-integrated storage appliances.

Barrier Four: "Employees need to access data rapidly, and it takes too long to pull it back from the cloud."
Bulldozer:
This is a common concern when dealing with backups to the cloud. Backups can be sent relatively quickly to the cloud with incremental-forevers, and deduplication, but getting them back from the cloud may take a bit longer. That's why such a large number of companies are choosing to take a "disk-to-disk-to-cloud" backup strategy, meaning that backups are cached locally (generally for a few weeks) before being sent off to the cloud. That way, the vast majority of restores will actually be from the local disk, and only rarely will data need to be pulled back from the cloud.

Barrier Five: "My current environment doesn't speak cloud protocols."
Bulldozer:
While ISVs are working quickly to update their applications to work with RESTful protocols, it's true that many still do not have native support for cloud storage. This barrier can easily be overcome with a cloud-connector, such as cloud-integrated storage, that not only speaks REST, but can convert your file or block storage into object storage.

Barrier Six: "I just don't want to."
Bulldozer:
Now for the biggest barrier of all: the cultural one. For organizations that face resistance without a clear rationale, dig deeper to find the core motivations. Is it fear based? Many individuals may fear that they will lose their job if the organization goes down a cloud-intensive path. If fear is the root cause of the resistance, make sure that you have a strong transition and retraining plan for any impacted employees and distribute it widely. In many of these cases, these fears stem from the unknown, which means that a transition and retraining plan has not been effectively communicated (or may not exist).

Cloud-Integrated Storage: Your Secret Weapon to Winning in the Cloud Storage Wars
While the task may seem daunting, incorporating cloud storage into your environment may not be as complex and full of hurdles as you fear. The move does not have to be "all or nothing," and in fact, it shouldn't be, at least at first (see the sidebar for common scenarios for first-time cloud storage users). One solution that can help make your path a little easier is the introduction of a cloud-integrated storage appliance. These solutions - generally physical or virtual appliances that sit on-premise - erase many of the common barriers listed above, including data reduction with deduplication and compression to reduce bandwidth challenges, multi-cloud or cloud agility features to protect against lock-in, a local cache for rapid access to data, ability to integrate existing software solutions and bridge the gap to REST interfaces, and advanced security capabilities to make sure data loss is never an issue.

Getting Your Feet Wet with Cloud Storage, Where to Begin?
Now is the time to start adopting cloud storage, and once you've overcome these six common barriers, you may be wondering, where do I begin? Here are three low-risk scenarios where cloud storage may be a good fit in your organization:

  1. Backups: For years, organizations have taken a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy for their backups, where they keep backups on disk for several weeks or a month, before migrating them off to tape, ship them offsite, and then store for the remainder of the retention cycle.  The challenge is that tape is an inherently risky and time-intensive medium due to the fact that it must be physically handled and shipped. By switching to a disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup architecture, organizations are able to immediately and securely get data offsite, while also reducing time and money spent.
  2. Cold storage: Most organizations have massive amounts of unstructured data, and it's growing faster than almost any other type of data. But at the same time, the vast majority of that data is cold data-no one has touched it or modified it in years.  As file servers become the dumping grounds of the rest of the company, IT struggles to find a way to store this data without breaking the bank on expensive NAS filers. Here lies another compelling use-case for cloud-migrating cold, or little used storage, off to a cold storage clouds like Amazon Glacier or Evault LTS2 could lead to huge cost savings, and improve performance for the local filers.
  3. Archive: One of the culprits behind the massive data growth that we've seen over the past few years is compliance: the need to retain data for legal reasons. Certain industries like financial services and healthcare feel this burden very heavily, although almost all industries face some sort of compliance that governs how they keep data and for how long. Many organizations have tackled this for years with archive software like Symantec Enterprise Vault and object storage like Centera, or even tape, but once again, the cloud presents a viable alternative for archive data as it is extremely durable and resilient and has no risk of technology obsolescence (i.e., you won't need to migrate data every few years).

More Stories By Rachel A. Dines

Rachel A. Dines is a product marketing manager at Riverbed Technology, where she focuses on SteelStore, the company’s cloud-integrated storage solution. Previously, Rachel was an industry analyst at Forrester Research covering resiliency, backup, and cloud. Her research has paved the way for cloud-based resiliency and next generation backup strategies.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implemen...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discussed how a new approach is neces...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...