Object Storage or Cloud for Enterprise File Sync and Share

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) is a “must deliver” for IT since most users perceive the capability to be a “must have”. In our last blog we discussed what to look for in an EFSS and explained the advantages of using an object storage system instead of a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system for storing EFSS data. Another option that IT professionals may consider is an EFSS system that includes cloud storage, but they may find it still falls short when compared to an on-premises object storage system.

The advantage of cloud storage for EFSS data is that the organization experiences limited upfront costs, but one of the biggest disadvantages of cloud storage is that the organization keeps paying for the same capacity over and over again. However, on premises object storage, other than the upfront cost, is less expensive than cloud storage, primarily because the organization owns it. The cost is a one-time only expense.

Upgrades are another advantage to cloud storage. All the organization has to do is pay for additional capacity and it is added to their account seamlessly. On-premises storage upgrades, on the other hand, have to be installed and configured. Object storage makes these upgrades easier since these architectures are scale-out in nature. Instead of a gradual curve up in capacity, scale-out architecture is a stair-step upgrade process which does not require any migration or downtime when the upgrade occurs. And again, it is a single payment upgrade, where with the cloud the organization pays for the same capacity plus the upgraded capacity over and over again.

A challenge with cloud storage is security. With the right precautions cloud storage can be just as secure as on-premises storage. The problem is that if there is a mistake, the level of exposure is much greater. A cloud storage bucket with incorrectly configured security is available for all to see. Typically, an insecure storage system within a data center is exposed only to those behind the organization’s firewall.

Another challenge with cloud storage is data governance. It is very hard to ensure that data is stored in a specific location. If the organization has regulatory guidelines that insist on certain data types not being stored outside the country or not being stored in specific countries, then on-premises object storage makes this easier since the primary copy is in the organization’s data center and IT can ensure the secondary copy is replicated to another facility, owned by the organization, within the appropriate country.

StorageSwiss Take

Cloud storage is often the default location for EFSS data but it has its shortcomings. When the only option for on-premises storage was NAS then the cost savings and simple upgrading of cloud storage could outweigh its negatives. With object storage, the organization has a compelling alternative that is not only cost effective, but easier to secure, easy to upgrade, and easy to ensure that data storage locations meet data sovereignty requirements.

To learn more about the effectiveness of object storage as part of an EFSS strategy watch our on demand webinar “How to Design a Compliant GDPR-Ready Collaboration System” and details on creating a secure on-premises EFSS solution that addresses the demands of safe collaboration.

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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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