Some interesting data surrounding cloud storage came out this week indicating that, far from being a slam-dunk application, the technology is likely to face a far more nuanced acceptance among IT professionals for the time being.
Forrester reported the results a recent survey of more than 1,200 enterprise executives that showed barely 3 percent use the cloud for general storage purposes. But that's not the worst of it: A startling 43 percent report they are not interested in cloud storage at all, citing such issues as service level guarantees, security and reliability as the main reasons for holding back.
If there is a silver lining for cloud providers here, it's that interest in the cloud as a backup platform is slightly higher, most likely reflecting that such an approach would still house critical data on local storage infrastructure, reserving the cloud for older data or for emergency use.
While the survey may throw cold water on general-purpose storage plans of cloud providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, they can take heart in the rising number of backup and archive solutions that are adding built-in cloud compatibility.
CommVault, for one, recently opened up the Simpana backup and archiving software stack to public cloud providers through the use of a new Integrated Cloud Connector that links to the REST interface used by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Nirvanix. The company plans further compatibility with the cloud offerings of EMC and Iron Mountain shortly. The move allows users to establish a far-reaching backup platform in which data can be allocated to either local storage or remote cloud facilities under a policy-based architecture.
Asigra is also hard at work expanding its list of cloud providers for its Hybrid Cloud Backup and Recovery software. The company just issued a new API for public cloud providers and has already lined up Amazon S3, Nirvanix, Google's GDrive, RackSpace and Yahoo. Asigra supplements its software with the Backup Lifecycle Management that brings improved search and rapid restoration to long-term data-retention operations.
Long term, the prospects for general-purpose cloud storage remain good. Concerns over reliability and security will likely fade as more enterprises become accustomed to cloud-based storage platforms. Of course, near-line storage for the most active data will probably remain on local systems, simply due to the high demand it is experiencing.
But with the scalability and cost-effectiveness of cloud storage being what they are, it's hard to imagine resistance lasting over the long haul.