Making Multi-Cloud a Reality – SwiftStack Briefing Note

Once an organization migrates data to and reaps the benefits of using the cloud, they often want more. Multi-cloud is the number one request of organizations initiating or expanding their cloud presence. These organizations want to move applications between on-premises and multiple cloud providers at a moment’s notice to take advantage of pricing, available resources or unique capabilities. The core of the problem though is data. Unlike processing demand, which can come and go, data has permanence. It has weight and the necessity to move or copy it to the next location before that location can take advantage of it.

Multi-Cloud Data Management

Organizations need a global data fabric so they can seamlessly interact with data regardless of its location. A global data fabric can move data to the cloud or between clouds without having to change applications or user settings. In addition to seamless access, a multi-cloud data management solution enables search, query, analytics and reporting to occur across clouds.

The global data fabric is the foundational component to multi-cloud, but a multi-cloud data management solution needs more capabilities to be able to meet organizational expectations. The most obvious requirement is data lifecycle management, the ability to move data from one location to another based on age or access.

Organizations may also want to move data between clouds to take advantage of better resource availability (cloud bursting) or lower prices (cloud brokering). Data movement requires the data management solution to provide live migration so that applications can continue to run in their original location while transferring data to the secondary location. Live migration is also crucial in initial cloud seeding. The data management solution should have a “pause” capability so that data can be migrated to a cloud transfer appliance (Amazon Snowmobile/Snowball) and then “unpaused” to perform a quick resync when the baseline data set is in the cloud.

Finally, the data management solution should leverage its migration capabilities to provide cross-cloud data protection. The organization can replicate data between different cloud providers or a cloud provider and an on-premises storage area so that if there is a failure at the primary cloud location, applications and data resume at the secondary cloud.

The Multi-Cloud Problem

There are plenty of solutions on the market claiming to be multi-cloud but most only deliver one aspect of multi-cloud; data lifecycle management, migration or data protection. Most can’t provide all three in a single solution and even fewer wrap all of these capabilities into a cloud fabric so that the movement of data is policy driven and doesn’t require manual interaction. The right multi-cloud fabric reduces many of the data movement requirements since an application in one cloud could reach out to data in another cloud.

Introducing SwiftStack 1space – Multi-Cloud Data Management

SwiftStack 1space is a multi-cloud data fabric that runs in containers in public clouds that provides seamless access across and between cloud providers like Amazon, Google OpenStack, and any S3 compatible object store. It includes policies for data lifecycle management, data protection, and automated migration. Data is stored natively in the format of each cloud provider. The fabric also covers on-premises, and data in the cloud is accessible from on-premises compute and cloud compute can access on-premises data.

The 1space solution supports use cases like aging data out to the cloud to lower the data storage footprint, or it can move data from the cloud to an on-premises object store so that organizations don’t have to continue to “rent” their storage. 1space can pre-position data via live migration from on-premises to the cloud or between clouds to deliver cloud bursting or to take advantage of specific cloud capabilities unique to a particular provider.

An excellent starting point for organizations is to use 1space as a data protection solution, leveraging it to copy data to an alternate cloud provider. This type of data protection covers the organization from a cloud provider outage or the compromising of a cloud account.

StorageSwiss Take

Once an organization commits to the cloud, it doesn’t make sense to limit itself to a single cloud provider. Multi-Cloud delivers greater flexibility and protection. The challenge is designing an architecture that allows data to move seamlessly between clouds, public or private, so that IT isn’t bogged down in manual tasks. SwiftStack’s 1space goes a long way to enable that design.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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