Cloud Storage Decoded
The cloud is where your end users desire to back up and share their digital content. They already use iTunes and Dropbox, and cloud services make sense for mobility initiatives and where non-mission-critical data is involved. And a cloud storage strategy needs to be simple to establish, right?
Well, no. Cloud storage used to intend simple disk drive replacements like SkyDrive and iDisk, but today there are dozens of product categories. Vendors try to fulfill a various set of consumer and business needs, and that is creating confusion. There is a difference between using bulk cloud storage alternatively to off-site tape or as an internet data repository for distributed applications versus having a cloud service replace a whole backup infrastructure–software, hardware, tape library, and staff. And there is lingering IT resistance to cloud storage, as our InformationWeek 2012 State of Storage Survey revealed.
Despite these issues, more enterprises are giving cloud storage a whirl in response to some powerful potential benefits, including no capital expense; good support for mobile workers; monthly, usage-based pricing; easily expandable capacity; and the power to off-load hardware and software management. To assist IT teams deal with the market, we invited 26 providers to participate in our InformationWeek Cloud Storage Buyer’s Guide ; 14 answered the decision. Their responses provide insights at the state of IT cloud storage adoption and the features of most interest to businesses.
In our full report, we include full responses from ADrive, Backup Technology, BUMI, Carbonite, Code 42, Dakota Backup, Dropbox, Egnyte, EVault, EVS, Nirvanix, Symantec, YouSendIt, and Zetta. These vendors span multiple market segments, and we’ll help buyers assess which services best fit their requirements.
A clear sign that cloud storage has moved past the early adopter phase is the truth that 25% of respondents to our State of Storage Survey have cloud as portion of their project plans for the subsequent year, up from 20% last year, with email and archiving the commonest applications. Our latest InformationWeek Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Survey and Public Cloud Storage Survey show similar adoption levels, inside the 25% range by year’s end.
As with any online or hosted service, security, reliability, availability, and function are the most important concerns. A key sign that cloud providers have successfully marketed themselves as price leaders is that the share of respondents to our State of Storage poll citing cost as an important inhibitor to cloud use dropped nine points up to now year. In our Public Cloud Storage Survey, only 12% listed total cost of ownership as a reason to not adopt online storage services.
Still, IT managers should dust off their calculators and run the numbers out four or five years. The actuality is, the cost of cloud storage can easily eclipse the life cycle cost of an enterprise storage system. In a contemporary column, InformationWeek Reports director Art Wittmann compared a midrange Equal- Logic array with a comparable amount of Amazon S3 storage and located cloud rate drops aren’t maintaining with declining hardware prices. That said, operating costs are a wild card, and the calculation is different reckoning on the service in question.