Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Patrick Hubbard, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Storage Barriers and How to Bulldoze Through Them

Cloud price wars make Storage-as-a-Service more compelling than ever, but other barriers still delay adoption

Spoiler alert: your secret weapon is cloud-integrated storage

Another week, another cloud storage price drop. The barrier of price is slowly melting away as the cloud storage wars rage and prices drop into the pennies per gigabyte per month. Not familiar with the price wars? Here's an abridged version:

But for many organizations, a drop in price alone won't get them the last mile to cloud adoption: there are many other barriers that stand in their way. Read on to learn how to tackle six of the most common barriers to adopting cloud and some strategies for overcoming them.

Put On Your Hardhat: Bulldozing Through the Six Common Barriers To Cloud Storage Adoption
If you've spent any time with CIOs lately, you're likely to hear a lot of excitement about cloud storage, quickly followed up by an equal measure of concern. Here are six barrier quotes I've collected in my recent CIO conversations, with tips on how to bulldoze through them.

Barrier One: "I can't maintain security and compliance in a multi-tenant environment."
Bulldozer:
When tackling any public cloud project, security remains the number one concern for organizations. Look for a solution that can provide you with ironclad end-to-end security, so data is encrypted at rest in the cloud (and ideally on-premise) and in transit, all with the encryption keys kept locally. You can also look for solutions that are compliant with industry standards like HIPAA or FIPS 140-2.

Barrier Two: "With bandwidth constraints, it will take too long to send my data to the cloud."
Bulldozer:
It's true that bandwidth remains a serious challenge for organizations with large volumes of data and narrow pipes. Technologies such as deduplication, compression, and WAN optimization generally found in cloud-integrated storage can help a lot, in some cases reducing data transfer times by up to 75 percent, but it may also make sense for you to take advantage of the physical import/export services that many cloud providers offer today.

Barrier Three: "I'm afraid of vendor lock-in."
Bulldozer:
The fear of the cloud being too much of a "roach motel" is also legitimate - what if the provider goes out of business like Nirvanix did in 2013? Or, a more likely scenario, changing requirements make it more appealing to move to another provider. Or maybe you just want to take advantage of someone else's lower prices. Whatever the reason, having some amount of data mobility is key, and the ability to seamlessly and painless migrate data from one cloud to another is a feature that is beginning to emerge in cloud-integrated storage appliances.

Barrier Four: "Employees need to access data rapidly, and it takes too long to pull it back from the cloud."
Bulldozer:
This is a common concern when dealing with backups to the cloud. Backups can be sent relatively quickly to the cloud with incremental-forevers, and deduplication, but getting them back from the cloud may take a bit longer. That's why such a large number of companies are choosing to take a "disk-to-disk-to-cloud" backup strategy, meaning that backups are cached locally (generally for a few weeks) before being sent off to the cloud. That way, the vast majority of restores will actually be from the local disk, and only rarely will data need to be pulled back from the cloud.

Barrier Five: "My current environment doesn't speak cloud protocols."
Bulldozer:
While ISVs are working quickly to update their applications to work with RESTful protocols, it's true that many still do not have native support for cloud storage. This barrier can easily be overcome with a cloud-connector, such as cloud-integrated storage, that not only speaks REST, but can convert your file or block storage into object storage.

Barrier Six: "I just don't want to."
Bulldozer:
Now for the biggest barrier of all: the cultural one. For organizations that face resistance without a clear rationale, dig deeper to find the core motivations. Is it fear based? Many individuals may fear that they will lose their job if the organization goes down a cloud-intensive path. If fear is the root cause of the resistance, make sure that you have a strong transition and retraining plan for any impacted employees and distribute it widely. In many of these cases, these fears stem from the unknown, which means that a transition and retraining plan has not been effectively communicated (or may not exist).

Cloud-Integrated Storage: Your Secret Weapon to Winning in the Cloud Storage Wars
While the task may seem daunting, incorporating cloud storage into your environment may not be as complex and full of hurdles as you fear. The move does not have to be "all or nothing," and in fact, it shouldn't be, at least at first (see the sidebar for common scenarios for first-time cloud storage users). One solution that can help make your path a little easier is the introduction of a cloud-integrated storage appliance. These solutions - generally physical or virtual appliances that sit on-premise - erase many of the common barriers listed above, including data reduction with deduplication and compression to reduce bandwidth challenges, multi-cloud or cloud agility features to protect against lock-in, a local cache for rapid access to data, ability to integrate existing software solutions and bridge the gap to REST interfaces, and advanced security capabilities to make sure data loss is never an issue.

Getting Your Feet Wet with Cloud Storage, Where to Begin?
Now is the time to start adopting cloud storage, and once you've overcome these six common barriers, you may be wondering, where do I begin? Here are three low-risk scenarios where cloud storage may be a good fit in your organization:

  1. Backups: For years, organizations have taken a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy for their backups, where they keep backups on disk for several weeks or a month, before migrating them off to tape, ship them offsite, and then store for the remainder of the retention cycle.  The challenge is that tape is an inherently risky and time-intensive medium due to the fact that it must be physically handled and shipped. By switching to a disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup architecture, organizations are able to immediately and securely get data offsite, while also reducing time and money spent.
  2. Cold storage: Most organizations have massive amounts of unstructured data, and it's growing faster than almost any other type of data. But at the same time, the vast majority of that data is cold data-no one has touched it or modified it in years.  As file servers become the dumping grounds of the rest of the company, IT struggles to find a way to store this data without breaking the bank on expensive NAS filers. Here lies another compelling use-case for cloud-migrating cold, or little used storage, off to a cold storage clouds like Amazon Glacier or Evault LTS2 could lead to huge cost savings, and improve performance for the local filers.
  3. Archive: One of the culprits behind the massive data growth that we've seen over the past few years is compliance: the need to retain data for legal reasons. Certain industries like financial services and healthcare feel this burden very heavily, although almost all industries face some sort of compliance that governs how they keep data and for how long. Many organizations have tackled this for years with archive software like Symantec Enterprise Vault and object storage like Centera, or even tape, but once again, the cloud presents a viable alternative for archive data as it is extremely durable and resilient and has no risk of technology obsolescence (i.e., you won't need to migrate data every few years).

More Stories By Rachel A. Dines

Rachel A. Dines is a product marketing manager at Riverbed Technology, where she focuses on SteelStore, the company’s cloud-integrated storage solution. Previously, Rachel was an industry analyst at Forrester Research covering resiliency, backup, and cloud. Her research has paved the way for cloud-based resiliency and next generation backup strategies.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...