Scale-Up Data Protection Through Multi-Tenancy

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

Perceptions and Realities of Cloud Security

A new survey suggests that access policies could use a little work.

Once you start talking about the cloud and data structures within the cloud, the subject quickly gets around to multi-tenancy.

For those still unaware, the terms refer to the ability to provide a single application to multiple users in such a way that each organization's data remains strictly their own. This is opposed to single tenancy or one-to-one relationships in which each user has his or her own dedicated application or service.

The latest branch of enterprise software to embrace multi-tenancy is data protection. Many of the latest platforms, such as Sepaton's new DeltaScale architecture, employ multi-tenancy as a means to scale services to extreme levels. The technique is deployed along with a number of other cloud-friendly capabilities like storage pooling, charge-back and secure erasure to enable cloud providers to deliver petabytes worth of resources across a wide user base.

Multi-tenancy is often the key ingredient when repurposing existing data protection systems for the cloud. For example, i356, a unit of Seagate, has loaded new versions of the recently acquired EVault system onto new backup and recovery appliances pre-configured for multi-tenant operations. The architecture allows VARs and service providers to deliver a wide range of service levels and pricing structures based on client's data needs.

This kind of flexibility will see increasing demand as the cloud market develops. In Europe, top EU ministers are talking about upping the level of security and availability for data stored on the cloud, particularly when it comes to personal or customer data. At the moment, the organization is looking to the industry to develop new protocols that will enable the industry to integrate data protection into basic-level cloud systems and services.

And indications are that cloud providers that do not provide a high degree of protection will have a tough time competing against those that do. A recent survey by systems integration service Hubspan placed data protection functions like access control, authentication and security at the top of enterprise executives' list of cloud priorities. The need is especially crucial if the industry hopes to tap into the vast stores of mission critical data out there.

Multi-tenancy is the primary way to make that happen, but let's be clear about one thing: It is primarily a way for cloud providers to enable top-notch data protection at a lower cost to themselves. It does nothing to increase the level or quality of that protection above what enterprises can deliver on their in-house infrastructure.

So multi-tenancy data protection in the cloud won't be any better than what you can get now, but it won't be any worse, either.

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