Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, David Balaban, Jason Bloomberg, Harry Trott

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO & Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and devel...
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Peak 10, Inc., has announced the implementation of IT service management, a business process alignment initiative based on the widely adopted Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. The implementation of IT service management enhances Peak 10’s current service-minded approach to IT delivery by propelling the company to deliver higher levels of personalized and prompt service. The majority of Peak 10’s operations employees have been trained and certified in the ITIL frame...