Business executive and IT professionals alike often share many of the same concerns when it comes to the use of cloud storage. But generally, there are four primary obstacles that businesses need to address before embracing the use of the public cloud as a data repository:
- Integration. How difficult will it be to integrate existing applications with cloud storage? Will the process involve extensive re-coding of applications so that they can interface with cloud storage resources? And will the user experience be transparent?
- Performance. If data is stored in the cloud, what additional latency will there be reading and writing files stored in the cloud? Will this necessitate investing in additional network bandwidth and/or networking hardware infrastructure?
- Security. Once business information is stored with a public cloud provider, who has access to the data? If encryption is used, who has access to the encryption keys?
- Cloud lock-in. Is cloud storage the ultimate “roach motel”, where business data checks in but never checks out?
Performance And Capacity Separation
Fortunately, many of these concerns can be addressed through the use of hybrid cloud technologies which provide the local high performance that critical business applications need, while seamlessly integrating with cloud storage resources for the efficient off-siting and archiving of data. Some of these solutions are packaged to allow businesses to utilize either funds from their capital or operational budget. In other words, this infrastructure can optionally be leased so that IT can get out of the storage hardware buying game and re-focus their efforts on business revenue generating activities.
Backup Offload Engine
But IT planners may be wondering what is the best way to step-in to using cloud storage. What cloud storage use cases represent the least risk while offering a lot of upside in potential cost savings and extended data protection? Backing up data into the cloud is a great way for organizations to secure business data off-site while weaning themselves off of the day-to-day drudgery of managing local backup processes.
Native Cloud Integration
Hybrid cloud solutions like those from Nasuni, make it simple for businesses to begin consuming cloud storage. The integration obstacle is addressed through the deployment of a compact filer platform that sits between on premises business applications locally and seamlessly connects with storage resources in the cloud. Importantly, there is no need to rewrite business application with cloud API sets to talk to cloud storage, as all of the logic is embedded on the filer itself – making the cloud integration process very simple for businesses.
Local Cache Performance
To address the performance obstacle, Nasuni fully automates the movement of backup data into the cloud. And local applications benefit from having their “hot” or active data sets residing on an efficient layer of ultra-fast flash storage capacity serviced up via standard NAS protocols. So active data never has to traverse the network, instead it is serviced up by a local cache to ensure rapid storage I/O performance.
The data security obstacle can be overcome through the use of military grade encryption technology to ensure that information transmitted and stored in the cloud is never compromised by unauthorized users or hackers. The Nasuni filer first encrypts the data, compresses it and then stores the encryption keys locally on the filer device, prior to transmission. Data in flight is fully encrypted and remains in an encrypted format when it lands (at rest) on cloud storage.
As data is non-disruptively moved into the cloud, backup recovery point objectives (RPOs) can actually be enhanced. Nasuni utilizes highly efficient, point-in-time snapshots to manage multiple recovery points of data residing on cloud storage resources to allow businesses to recover data as far back in time as they desire.
And restoring data from the cloud and back on to local storage is as simple as a few mouse clicks. This last point is an important one as the same mechanism for restoring data is the same process that businesses can use to migrate data back out of the cloud should there ever be a need to. This eliminates the businesses concern or obstacle of falling prey to “cloud lock-in”.
Laying The Cloud Foundation
All of these capabilities help set the table for allowing businesses to start utilizing the cloud for backup and DR without committing to complex projects or investing inordinate amounts of capital dollars to make their infrastructure cloud compatible. And once this foundation is in place and organizations are confident that their data is being reliably managed and protected, they can start to branch off into other use cases – like storage consolidation and leveraging the cloud for global file sharing across multiple geographies.
The point is for many businesses, there is no longer an advantage to sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the perfect entry point to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy. Plug-and-play appliances like those from Nasuni are taking the guess work and the fear factor out of consuming cloud storage.
Nasuni is a client of Storage Switzerland