Virtualisation software emulates computer hardware allowing multiple operating systems to run on a single physical host.
What is Cloud Storage?Cloud Storage refers to an architecture where data is held and managed remotely and accessed by end user applications over a network, usually meaning the Internet, using Internet Protocols. This architecture model can be classed as Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud. It is differentiated from applications delivered as a service (e.g. Salesforce, Office365) in that just the data is remote and servers and applications remain local.
Public Cloud storage is most commonly a service accessed by end users to store or backup files. Many of these services provide a certain amount of storage capacity free of charge and offer a commoditized method of file data storage. Providers have come into the market from both the end-user side as well as for enterprises. Most people will have knowledge or experience of DropBox or iCloud as an end user while many SMEs use Windows Azure or Amazon’s Simple Storage Service.
As the name suggests, Public Cloud services utilize a shared infrastructure and business or personal users are tenants of that infrastructure. In practice, very few organisations will place their entire corporate data into the Cloud.
Private Cloud is, not surprisingly, only accessible to users of a single organization and the infrastructure typically sits behind a corporate firewall. The Hybrid Cloud model is probably the one most commonly adopted and presents an efficient and convenient model for offloading selected data storage and management services, such as backup, to a Cloud Services Provider. This is especially useful for organisations where tasks that are required on a number of sites (again, such as regular backup of critical data), can be automated against an agreed service level. On the other hand there may be a regulatory need for the organization to archive historical data for many years and rather than hold this on storage systems in-house, necessitating large migration effort each time the environment is refreshed, it may be more appropriate to buy this as a service.
What are the business benefits of Cloud Storage?In the examples above, the immediate underlying benefit is to mitigate risk with increased efficiency. Data protection requires more infrastructure the more critical that data is to the business – typically in the form of more frequent backups or snapshots, or redundant, secure infrastructure with considerable data replication between sites physically spread out yet interconnected with high-bandwidth links. Cloud Storage provides this protection on a service basis so the huge infrastructure capital cost and its maintenance is distributed across a number of clients.
Furthermore, with storage technology having an evolutionary cycle of 2-3 years, data that must be archived for many years for compliance with regulatory requirements places a massive burden on IT in terms of security and integrity, especially during migration cycles where the risk of data loss is highest. There are obvious benefits to be gained from buying this as a service rather than delivering it in-house.
How can Qual help you with Cloud Storage?IT will always continue to transform business with how information is managed. Without expertise and current knowledge on the value of each emerging technology it can be easy to be oversold on the benefits of one particular area over another. Qual’s Storage and Virtualisation Practice brings years of experience to the table with acute knowledge and understanding of the real value gained from investment in different technologies (as well as any trade-offs). We can pin-point where your limited budget and resource should be spent for maximum return and select the most suitable vendor based on practical experience of their products and offerings.
Cloud Storage is like any other IT product and technology and we’re ready to help our customers choose how much, from whom and in what form they should adopt it with a clear understanding of the expected benefits.