As a brand-new year draws inexorably upon us, it is time once again to peer into the crystal ball in an attempt to predict what 2013 will bring. Today, we tap on the expertise of Margaret Dawson, VP of product management at online storage company Symform, for a closer look at storage, one of the key pillars of IT.
On this front, Dawson cited research studies that show SMBs as continuing to “not invest appropriately” in this aspect such as in the areas of strong data security, storage and backup.
Things are set to change in 2013, however, and SMBs will take a fresh look at the use of the customer-centric cloud services that proved so popular in 2012, but which could put corporate data at risk. The result: Dawson, in an email to me, noted that SMBs will be more open to IT-managed services and vendors that can show clear access control rules to corporate files and applications.
Under the premise that no business will be all cloud or all on-premise, Dawson opines that the year ahead will see SMBs looking to extend and build upon what they already have. This could allow cloud storage gateways to take hold, with improved market penetration in the relatively nascent cloud storage on-ramp and gateway market.
Placed at a customer’s premise, a cloud gateway essentially emulates a disk array in the form of a file server or a block storage device. They translate standard storage protocols into the REST-like protocol used by cloud storage providers, offering a predictable performance that allows for easy integration with existing infrastructure. In effect, they allow SMBs to easily leverage cloud storage without having to perform any programming or make any changes to existing applications.
Clearly, on-premise appliances with cloud capabilities will be important in the year ahead. Dawson wrote: “This also presents an opportunity for network-attached storage (NAS) devices that can easily reach to the cloud for secondary backup and restore.”
Finally, Dawson thinks the cloud will no longer be able to attract customers based on its low-cost appeal compared to the deployment of on-premise equipment. In that vein, businesses will be more willing to spend more for things such as stronger service-level agreements (SLAs) that have more bite when it comes to uptime and performance.