Occupy the Cloud! Five Trends that Show There's No Need to Wait
Five trends indicate there's no need to protest moving mission-critical data into the cloud.
In enterprise center circles, the line between luxury and necessity is usually very fine. It also has a habit of coming on very quickly - barely allowing IT to familiarize itself with new technology before facing increased pressure to get it deployed.
Such is the case with cloud storage, which is already becoming a standard component of data environments. Enterprise managers are quickly learning that in addition to a low-cost option for steadily increasing data loads, the cloud provides a more flexible platform suited to the growing legions of mobile workers.
Already, new desktops are shipping not only with local disk storage, but pre-configured cloud storage as well. HP recently teamed up with Box to provide 10 GB on the cloud for Compaq Pro 6200 and 6500 PCs. The bundle takes advantage of Box's online collaboration tools and file synchronization service to provide a seamless environment for desktops, tablets, smartphones and other access devices.
EMC is also trying to make cloud storage an easy play for enterprise users. The company now provides the Atmos platform as a vApp to more easily integrate cloud services into virtualized environments. The move is intended to streamline the provisioning process and increase visibility, monitoring and other administrative tasks. At the same time, the company has added Linux and Windows support to the GeoDrive, enabling cloud access without additional APIs or code changes.
Cloud storage is most appealing if it can be integrated into existing storage infrastructure. A company called iWave Software has developed a new storage automation platform aimed at doing just that. The company's Storage Director 1.5 enables cloud-based storage services on current storage environments through a combination of service-based provisioning and storage management functions. Not only does the system automate these repetitive tasks, but it reduces outages by eliminating configuration errors all the while more closely matching resources to data needs through reclamation and simplified provisioning.
It also helps if the cloud storage shares many of the same functions and characteristics of existing SANs. That's what TwinStrata has in mind with its new CloudArray storage gateway. By leveraging both traditional and cloud resources, the company says it can create a global SAN that can be accessed from any device. The platform offers support for NetApp filers and other file system-based servers, as well as direct-attached or SAN storage, pairing them up with Amazon S3, Gov Cloud and Nirvanix cloud storage. The platform provides many of the SAN features that enterprises have grown accustomed to, such as snapshots, replication, data reduction and encryption.