Data, data, data. It’s everywhere, and everyone wants it. For IT professionals, data can be the bane of their existence or the key to unlocking untapped potential. Everything in between all at the same time.
Data is described as the new currency, which is a good way to look at it. Like currency, different data have different values. Some are worth a nickel, while really important data are folding money. Consequently, all data should not be treated the same. Losing a dime or two is no big deal. Lose one thousand dollars, and you’ll feel the pain — especially if the data you lost belongs to someone else, like your customers or your company. You’ll want to get it back if you can.
The other thing about data is that companies are running out of room to store it. In many cases, they don’t have a choice, given retention laws and regulatory compliance requirements, not to mention that untapped potential referenced earlier. Not only do companies have to keep data, they have to store and manage certain types in specific ways, lest they run afoul of many constituents’ interests.
You guessed it. Companies, organizations and governments of all sizes are tapping the cloud for help with this monumental chore and challenge – a chore because much of what it takes to store, access, protect and recover data is annoyingly routine. It’s challenging because of the mega volumes of data routinely being generated (and growing) and the oversight that much of it requires. The fact is, this can be hard work.
In any storage strategy, data backup and replication are fundamental necessities. In fact, data backup is a key workload for which the cloud is used today.
- Nearly one-third of IT infrastructure spending is now going to cloud deployments(1)
- Data backup is the #1 workload for public clouds and #3 for hosted private clouds(2)
- Nearly three out of four organizations use or plan to use cloud-based data protection services(3)
Reasons for backing up and restoring data in the cloud (as well as using DRaaS) are much the same as for any cloud implementation:
- Use managed services to offload day-to-day functions, and focus more on core business issues and opportunities
- Trade CapEx for OpEx
- Onboard professional skills that your staff does not possess, or that are too expensive or difficult to find, hire and train
- Attain geographic diversification with someone else’s wallet
The big issues most people still have with cloud storage are security and compliance, followed by latency. It’s widely asserted today by leading industry analysts that the first two are no longer valid concerns when you work with a capable provider; the real reasons for hesitation are more a matter of fear of ceding control or protecting the status quo. In fact, expect that an expert provider will maintain a more secure and compliant infrastructure – storage included – than many IT organization could ever hope to on their own.
By the same token, data access need not be an issue either when a solution is properly architected, maintained and adaptable. Furthermore, storage solutions in the cloud improve continually; the same cannot be said for in-house capabilities.
As with most things IT, storage strategies will eventually be executed in a hybrid cloud framework. Data will dynamically move from place to place, provider to provider (or simultaneously in multiple locations), according to its intrinsic value, lifecycle stage and risk/reward cost assessment.