Most industry sources estimate that approximately 90% of all new data growth in
corporate data centers today is from unstructured data. In some environments this data is nearly doubling every two years, creating a serious scaling challenge for traditional storage systems. As we discussed in a recent white paper, object storage is helping to address the scaling issues associated with traditional NAS systems while also providing a more cost-effective alternative to next-generation “Scale-Out” NAS architectures. To augment their ongoing storage capacity needs and geographical reach, however, many organizations need a way to build a hybrid cloud storage environment.
Tapping the Cloud
Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) like Amazon, Microsoft and Google have developed storage-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that provide low-cost, global access to practically unlimited storage capacity. To tap into this vast reservoir of storage resources, business applications need to be rewritten to integrate with the application programming interface (API) or storage protocol that these storage services utilize. RESTful APIs like Amazon’s S3 “Simple Storage Service”, for example, have become a de-facto industry standard.
While re-programming existing applications to “talk” to these protocols isn’t terribly complex, it is time consuming. Furthermore, if there are dozens or hundreds of applications that need to be re-coded to accommodate access to these cloud storage resources, it could be quite costly. In order for organizations to speed up time-to-market and keep costs in check, it makes sense to consider “off-the-shelf” technologies that can immediately bridge this gap.
Gated Cloud Access
Some solutions like cloud gateways, for example, allow organizations to deploy a virtual or a hardware appliance in front of their existing application infrastructures to access cloud storage. While these offerings provide a simple and relatively quick way to enable applications to use cloud storage, they don’t typically provide the scale that many enterprise data center environments need. In addition, cloud gateways don’t provide a way for organizations to re-purpose their existing storage assets to build an on-premises, private cloud storage infrastructure.
What’s needed is a solution that allows organizations to build a hybrid cloud storage environment that has the capability to leverage both data center storage assets as well as public cloud storage services. In this manner, businesses could build a highly scalable (multi-PB) object storage system that could satisfy their growing unstructured data storage requirements while having the flexibility to use public cloud storage to augment their storage needs.
In addition to providing organizations with access to public cloud storage on demand, hybrid cloud infrastructures enable businesses to extend their global presence by “seeding” their data assets into multiple geographies where they may not have any existing data center infrastructure.
De-Facto Cloud Access
Ideally this could be accomplished by implementing a software solution, like Cloudian’s, onto an existing virtual server infrastructure so that organizations could build their own object storage service. In addition to providing native support to Amazon’s S3, the solution should also provide a facility for tracking storage consumption amongst users so that organizations could “charge back” their internal lines of business for the resources that they consume.
Hybrid Cloud Storage ROI
The business benefits for building a hybrid cloud storage infrastructure are numerous. To name just a few, it enables organizations to immediately meet head-on, their rapidly growing unstructured data storage needs by building a cost-effective, highly scalable and highly elastic object storage repository. In addition, hybrid cloud storage functions as a self-contained backup and DR storage infrastructure for unstructured data. In other words, the redundancy and resiliency characteristics built-into cloud storage obviates the need for a secondary backup system to protect the information stored on it – saving organizations even more money.
Hybrid cloud storage also allows businesses to free up expensive primary storage so that growing unstructured data volumes can reside on less costly object storage repositories – whether on-premises, in public clouds or both.
To learn more about the benefits of cloud storage and how you can build a cost-effective hybrid cloud solution for your business, join us for a Webinar with Cloudian on Wednesday March 26th at 1pm: