Object Storage Vs. The Public Cloud – Friend or Foe

In our on demand webinar, “2019 Storage Strategies Series – What’s Your Plan for Object Storage?” one of the key points of discussion will be about the cloud. Most cloud providers have a tier of storage built from object storage so is the public cloud a friend or foe to object storage vendors. Should on-premises object storage systems compete with or complement the cloud?

A Private Cloud – Public Cloud Strategy

Most organizations want to develop both a private and a public cloud strategy. In most cases integration is built in. Amazon’s S3 is the de facto standard by which data is written to an object store, including private object stores. There are several good use cases for integrating the two storage types. The most basic use case is to use the public cloud object storage tier to be a disaster recovery copy of the on-premises object store. This use case saves the organization from buying two object storage systems as well as the secondary facility to house it.

A second use case is to use the public cloud as a deeper archive to the on-premises object store. Depending on the service levels offered by the tier, the public cloud may be a less expensive alternative than the primary on-premises object store. Organizations need to be careful though, while the cloud does offer a significant cost savings compared to primary storage, object storage systems are already very cost effective. The public cloud has a much smaller, if any, price advantage compared to on-premises object storage systems. In addition, IT purchases public cloud storage capacity on a monthly basis, and while one month of 1 petabyte of public cloud capacity is very affordable, 36 or 72 months of it may far exceed the cost of an on-premises cloud storage system. Organizations need to weigh not only the cost per month but the total cost for the data’s lifecycle.

IT might find it better to use public cloud storage as a temporary staging area. Instead of having to predict and prepare for out of capacity situations, when capacity becomes scarce, IT can move some of the data sets temporarily to a cloud-based object storage area. When new nodes come in and are configured data temporally stored in the cloud are moved back to on-premises object storage. This use case enables IT to wait until the last possible moment before ordering more capacity, to ensure storage resources are entirely utilized.

A final use case is to leverage public cloud capacity AND public cloud compute and place instances of the on-premises object storage software in the cloud, essentially creating additional nodes or another object storage cluster in the cloud. Data can then be seamlessly moved between on-premises and the cloud and operated on by applications in either location.

In most cases IT designers should not look at the private cloud vs. public cloud as an either-or option. There is significant opportunity for the two storage repositories to work together. However, IT does need to be aware that an on-premises object store is often less expensive than the fully itemized cost of the public cloud, so the traditional DR and Archive use cases may not make as much sense for object storage as the do for production storage.

Creating a cloud storage strategy that makes sense for both the users and the budget is an important action item for organizations to undertake in 2019. Developing an object storage strategy is the topic of our first 2019 strategy series webinar. Join Storage Switzerland and experts from Caringo, Cloudian and Scality for an interactive roundtable that will help you prepare an object storage strategy for 2019.

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George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer at VergeIO, the leader in Ultraconverged Infrastructure. Prior to VergeIO he was Chief Product Strategist at StorONE. Before assuming roles with innovative technology vendors, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, SAN, Virtualization, Cloud, and Enterprise Flash. Before 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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