Growth of Unstructured Data
The rapid growth of storage consumption, particularly for unstructured data, has driven organizations to adopt cost-effective cloud storage solutions as a substitute or complement to more expensive block or file storage systems. Beyond cost savings, cloud storage offers many benefits to organizations, such as: elastic use of storage to match changing demands, usage metering and pay-per-use cost models, built-in geographical redundancy, global name space, flexible data access methods, and the ability to easily shift data between private and public storage spaces.
Small businesses, enterprises, and government organizations take advantage of cloud storage applications such as backup, file sharing and mobile access. Service providers have also recognized the opportunity and many offer cloud-based storage services to their customers.
The first step in creating a cloud storage offering is having the right infrastructure (deployed in-house, or hosted), and for many applications that infrastructure is object storage. However, the storage infrastructure, on its own, is not sufficient to create and deliver the storage-based applications that users need.
As with any emerging technology space, a plethora of vendors have developed tools to enable specific cloud storage applications. Yet IT organizations and service providers are struggling with the integration of disparate tools into a consistent set of cloud storage services, in an environment fraught with immature technologies and unclear standards. A different approach is needed: a cloud storage platform that supports multiple storage applications in a consistent, integrated and scalable fashion.
Killer Apps’ of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage has proven to be a cost effective and scalable solution for several types of storage applications:
Backup: Cloud storage is ideally suited for backing up user-generated files, and is an ideal replacement for tape backup and off-site tape storage services.
File Storage: Traditionally, enterprise branch offices have local file servers in each office, for storing local, unstructured data. As their business scales, many enterprises now recognize that this approach creates a maintenance and support nightmare. Cloud storage gateways are an ideal substitute for on-site file servers, providing an easy-to-manage, disaster-proof alternative, while retaining compatibility with existing applications – without sacrificing performance.
File Sharing: Cloud storage can be used to create a simple, intuitive file sharing environment, whereby employees can grant secure file access to team members and guest users.
Mobile Access: Many organizations have adopted ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies, tolerating or encouraging employee use of personal smartphones and tablets to access their corporate data. Cloud storage can be used to support BYOD data access, enabling users to access their files anytime, anywhere.
Archival: A growing number of government regulations (e.g., for financial services, healthcare) require companies and agencies to retain records for extended periods of time. Cloud storage offers a cost-effective
- How unstructured data growth drives cloud storage adoption
- The ‘killer apps’ of cloud storage reviewed
- Putting cloud storage to work: building blocks and approaches
- The need for a unified, interoperable, multi-application platform
- CTERA cloud storage platform architecture and benefits