2013 Cloud Storage Expectations

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1 2013 Cloud Storage Expectations

2 cloud A recent TechTarget Survey suggests that while many IT budgets are decreasing or remaining flat, cloud projects are still on the rise and will continue to be throughout this year. Also, traditional data centers will rely more on cloud storage and Storage as a Service in This e-guide, from our experts at SearchCloudComptuing.com, digs into what you can expect from cloud storage in Discover some low-cost options cloud storage with our money-saving tricks inside. gain popularity in 2013 Cloud computing will continue its march into data centers this year, displacing traditional computing and storage methods. Half of all respondents to TechTarget's 2013 IT Priorities Survey of more than 1,700 IT professionals and business analysts said that cloud projects are capturing increasingly large portions of IT budgets -- even as other line items decrease or remain flat. Overall, the survey found 30% of companies plan to implement cloud computing using external providers during the year, while another 22% will implement their own private clouds. Respondents said allocations for cloud services will grow 35% over the course of the year. Popular cloud applications include disaster recovery and Platform as a Service, but IT pros are especially interested in cloud storage. "For archiving, [cloud storage] is a way to save space and keep stuff longer, while spending less to do it," said Dennis Martin, president of the Rocky Mountain Windows Technology User Group in Denver. Page 2 of 9

3 cloud By the end of 2013, as many as 60% of those polled will have as much as 14% of their companies' storage located in the cloud. Further, 43% said they plan to use Storage as a Service in the new year -- behind only those planning to use Software as a Service, at 52%. That's a gain over last year's study, when 35% of IT pros said they would use Storage as a Service, which was topped by Software as a Service at 56%. "People are increasingly using [the cloud] for bulk archive storage," said Mark Eisenberg, director at enterprise application and cloud integration firm Fino Consulting in New York City. "We're [hearing] people say 'We have a public cloud that's a virtual data center, [and] we're getting away from physical data centers.'" While Storage as a Service helps further validate migration to the cloud, it is challenged by perennial issues including cloud security. Ironically, the survey found that 19% plan to use external Security as a Service this year. "Large organizations are definitely planning, and are sold on the concept of cloud as a resource for their global enterprise," said Ajit Kapoor, principal and managing director at The Kapoor Group, a global consultancy for aligning business with IT expenses located in Orlando, Fla. "However, the security concerns drive increased costs, as requirements for security are forcing IT pros to look into internal hosting versus the much-advertised cost savings from the third-party providers." Meanwhile, infrastructure projects support such goals as server virtualization (54%), disaster recovery (45%) and data center consolidation (40%). Other initiatives are competing for budget dollars as well; 22% of respondents said they have 'big data' initiatives in the works this year, while 38% will deploy mobility solutions and 30% will focus on compliance, the survey found. Page 3 of 9

4 The basics of cloud-based cloud Storing data in the public cloud has its obvious advantages. Cloud s elastic provisioning capabilities gives you access to additional storage space when you need it. What you choose to store in the cloud versus on local servers, however, makes a difference. The following types of data are good fits for public cloud storage. Customer-facing data. If your company has large amounts of customerfacing data, such as catalogs of merchandise, it makes sense to host that data in the cloud where it can be copied redundantly as needed, geographically distributed or provisioned up or down according to customer demand. The statement, Put data closest to the people who need it, applies here. Distributed-access data. Data that s accessed from several locations, particularly read-only data or data that is synchronized periodically from a central source, is a good fit for the cloud. Public cloud has fewer physical constraints on storage -- you can provision out as much as you need and your budget will allow -- but IT admins must also take into account bandwidth requirements and possible latency issues. Data backups. Backing up data from a local system such as a desktop or an enterprise data center to a cloud host is a good example of an instance in which cloud-based storage makes sense. Bandwidth and storage space are two limiting factors; the more of each you have at your disposal, the easier it is to mirror local data in the cloud. Retrieving data from a cloud-based backup, however, can be tricky if you re dealing with terabytes of data. If siphoning that data from the cloud over the network isn t prohibitive, ask your cloud provider to send you a physical copy of your data. The case for clutching your data Certain types of data, for one reason or another, are best kept in a local data center or private cloud. Here are a few examples of data that should be kept on-premises. Page 4 of 9

5 cloud Mirrored copies of data. In some cases, mirrored copies of data could be considered backup in reverse. Copies of data stored in the cloud are synchronized passively to one or multiple hosts. Egnyte, for example, is a service that uses a VMware-hosted appliance to perform local synchronization with an enterprise s private cloud. Sensitive data. Some organizations choose to keep sensitive customer data local because of security concerns or to adhere to certain regulatory guidelines, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). On a practical level, at-rest and in-transit encryption, more comprehensive service-level agreements (SLAs) and other safeguards have helped restore enterprises trust in housing sensitive data in the cloud. But security is as much about perceptions as it is about actual procedures, and some enterprises are simply more comfortable keeping sensitive data local. Synchronized data. Even though it s becoming increasingly possible to ensure multiple copies of a piece of data remain consistent and in-sync, sometimes the only way to guarantee this is to keep one copy where you use it most often -- locally. Often, enterprises will keep some data in the cloud and related data onpremises. If they must keep that data synchronized, one major consideration is application-aware synchronization. If you re dealing with data that exists as files, this isn t complicated. But sophisticated databases, for instance, must be synchronized according to application. Live-mounted databases need to be synchronized to and from the cloud via attendant applications. In many cases, those apps must be able to see the sync target as a conventional file system, or the apps would need an extension that allows them to easily transfer data in and out of the cloud. Large databases. In some cases, it s not practical to remotely host instances of data, or it doesn t provide any business advantages. For example, you may not need to mirror a large database that only a select number of people access to several locations. On the other hand, housing big data in the cloud is a good fit for data that needs to be accessed Page 5 of 9

6 broadly, whether as a public resource, for data analytics or for business intelligence (BI). cloud cloud The high cost of cloud can crush an enterprise's business case for public cloud. Some enterprises report they can buy a hard drive for the same cost as monthly cloud storage and usage fees. Meanwhile Microsoft and Google give away gigabytes in their SkyDrive and Google Drive services for free. Cloud consumers may find it difficult to make sense of price discrepancies. To get the whole picture, look at exactly what you get when you buy cloud storage. Disk capacity alone is relatively inexpensive, particularly on a large scale. You can purchase an external hard drive with a terabyte of space for a little more than $100, for example. If you imagine a large server with 100 TB of capacity, you could store 10 GB for 10,000 end users on one server -- providing, of course, that their I/O activity is limited. On the other hand, a single user with 10 GB of storage and a high transaction rate could easily consume an entire server or load up the cloud provider's data center switch and storage area network (SAN). And cloud costs will be higher when data is accessed regularly, particularly when accessed from outside the cloud. Data usage charges reflect the cost burden placed on the cloud admin for that usage. Enterprises report that access to cloud data forces them to expand connection speeds to avoid congestion. This, in turn, increases network costs. 1. Cloud customers need help managing data costs, and four strategies have emerged to help solve this cost dilemma. Explore hierarchies of and use. When designing an application and its relationship to data, explore the idea of creating a storage hierarchy. While in-memory data caching may seem foolish in the cloud, it's Page 6 of 9

7 cloud possible that reducing the rate of data access by keeping mostaccessed elements in memory can reduce costs. Research how uniting different classes of cloud storage into a hierarchy -- from realtime to archived -- can affect data pricing. 2. Consider on-premises support cloud applications. While block or file system I/O between on-premises resources and the cloud isn't likely to be cost effective or have smooth performance, it may be practical to store data on-premises and expose it in the form of an RDBMS query-level interface (DBaaS) to cloud-hosted applications. This can eliminate costs for cloud data and help cloud-hosted applications access on-premise data more quickly, allowing enterprises to migrate more applications to the cloud. This strategy is most effective when a large database is queried to produce a relatively small result set. 3. Use summary or abstracted databases for cloud. Cloud analytics, in particular, can often operate on summary data rather than business/transactional detail files. Looking at product sales by store rather than looking at register details can reduce the number of records by several orders of magnitude. And that can reduce data storage costs. Business-critical applications are the most complicated to deploy in the cloud, because they often use large databases to record transactions. In retail-industry applications, for example, these databases involve constantly changing inventory. While many enterprises deploy Web front ends of business-critical applications in the cloud, they look to cloud backup for the application component. In this case, the key to controlling data costs may be to create a multi-stage application. Consider Web retail systems, for example. These systems usually generate the majority of transactions for a small number of items. If the front end is set up with a "deposit" of available items that represent a quantity fewer than the quantity actually available, the Page 7 of 9

8 cloud company can safely accept orders without checking inventory. This keeps inventory items off cloud storage. And since an enterprise will incur a charge each time it accesses a cloud storage database, this system will save money. Applications can then send updates to the on-premises database on a regular basis to receive an additional "allotment" from which they can withdraw when orders are placed. This will allow most orders to be processed -- even if the data center is temporarily down. A similar process of caching data can be used for other online activities that involve inventory and similarly save an enterprise money. 4. Keep backup copies. Consider keeping a copy of some data on an inexpensive backup site and then "restore" it to more expensive cloud storage when needed. The data will not be available during the restoration, but an outage will have minimal affect. For databases with lower levels of activity, this strategy may be ideal to manage costs while retaining an off-site option for processing in the event of a data center failure. As cloud computing changes all aspects of IT planning, so too will database software and architectures change. Enterprises must focus on how these changes impact not only their virtual resources and private clouds, but also their public cloud choices and pricing. Storing data in the cloud will never be as inexpensive as storing it on a portable hard drive, but taking advantage of technology advances will likely give buyers the best cost and the highest return on investment for the cloud. Page 8 of 9

9 cloud Free resources for technology professionals TechTarget publishes targeted technology media that address your need for information and resources for researching products, developing strategy and making cost-effective purchase decisions. Our network of technology-specific Web sites gives you access to industry experts, independent content and analysis and the Web s largest library of vendor-provided white papers, webcasts, podcasts, videos, virtual trade shows, research reports and more drawing on the rich R&D resources of technology providers to address market trends, challenges and solutions. Our live events and virtual seminars give you access to vendor neutral, expert commentary and advice on the issues and challenges you face daily. Our social community IT Knowledge Exchange allows you to share real world information in real time with peers and experts. What makes TechTarget unique? TechTarget is squarely focused on the enterprise IT space. Our team of editors and network of industry experts provide the richest, most relevant content to IT professionals and management. We leverage the immediacy of the Web, the networking and face-to-face opportunities of events and virtual events, and the ability to interact with peers all to create compelling and actionable information for enterprise IT professionals across all industries and markets. Related TechTarget Websites Page 9 of 9

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