Managing data footprint with corporate cloud storage

by CXOtoday Staff    Aug 16, 2010

Cloud computing is fast emerging as an attractive option for Indian enterprises to address the ever growing IT challenges. Innovations in cloud storage services are causing a growing number of enterprises to take notice of the new offerings that will help them address the problems of data growth. After all, keeping up with data growth using the traditional storage model is fast becoming a challenge. The key task in combating this reality of data explosion is supporting the increasing number of critical applications as well as trying to meet demanding service level requirements within strict budget constraints.

Maximum attention from data-driven sectors
There is a marked interest amongst Indian CIOs towards cloud offerings. In fact, with the emergence of cloud computing, cloud storage is one area attracting maximum attention, especially amongst the data driven sectors. Although organizations at the SMB-level are still at a nascent stage when it comes to adoption of cloud storage offerings, at the enterprise level, companies are already seriously looking at the best way to implement a cloud storage strategy. Most organizations are in the process of trying to understand the best strategy suitable to their needs and support their existing environment. Due to security issues most companies are currently looking to put a private cloud in place. In choosing this method, organizations should consider the acquisition cost, the management costs and their own heterogeneous environment — after all, cloud computing changes the way storage is offered and managed.

Increasingly, organizations are leveraging a clustered storage platform that enables enterprise-class private cloud services. These services benefit companies by standardizing the enterprise while providing data protection, data improvement, anti-virus and other security. This innovative infrastructure gives enterprises a scalable, high-performance, cost-effective solution for meeting their changing storage objectives.

Build to scale
Information growth is a critical reality within which the IT managers need to store, deliver and manage this expanding data .It is the unstructured data that needs to be put into place. These include multimedia files, business applications, and Web pages. This is very challenging because the traditional storage model involves installing a new system every time you run out of storage space. Cloud computing comes across as an effective solution. The scalability feature coupled with the flexibility to adjust to the changing needs, provides a cost effective solution to enterprises.

Enterprise-class performance
An IT manager today is expected to manage a growing volume of critical applications, having highly demanding workloads .This is true in the case of verticals such as medical imaging, geospatial mapping, medical reports etc .Typically, within the monolithic storage infrastructure, this would involve additional storage arrays. This results in reduced storage utilization and latency. A cloud storage environment gives organizations an enterprise-class storage environment—one that is available rounds the clock, delivering, and near-linear performance.

Reduced costs
Storage infrastructure costs are one of highest within the IT budget. In this fluid economic scenario, IT managers have to be conservative in planning IT expenditure. Data explosion needs to be met within the budget constraints. A cloud storage offering, especially the private cloud reduces both, acquisition and operational costs considerably. For example, the cloud storage services platform uses commodity servers such as Windows or Linux, which obviates the need to buy costly specialty servers and operating systems. This can greatly reduce capital expenditures.

The cloud platform virtually supports any major storage array system providing the flexibility in vendor selection and in turn reduction in costly training on new systems or platforms. Another cost efficiency associated with the cloud storage services platform is that it enables IT to group storage assets into fewer, large shared pools, thereby increasing backend storage utilization. Also, the scalable cloud storage services platform allows enterprises to pay as their needs grow, which allows organizations to meet evolving budget challenges.

Finally, the efficiency with which a cloud storage services platform is implemented results in cost savings. The platform is typically delivered as a clustered software NAS appliance with automated deployment and configuration capabilities, some of these solutions also include enterprise-class data backup and endpoint security protection. As a result, deploying the cloud storage services platform is quick and easy.

Enabling the cloud
Enterprises are focused towards exploring ways and means to improve storage efficiency and reduce management complexity of their growing environments and the cloud model is emerging as an effective value proposition. In evaluating options, enterprise storage managers must consider the scalability, availability, performance, and cost of a platform that can provide an enterprise-class foundation for their file-based storage services.

By taking advantage of new innovations in storage architecture that combine commodity hardware with high-value storage software, enterprises can create file-based storage architectures that deliver on the promises of cloud computing. The cloud storage services platform offers the essential infrastructure to address the demands of enterprise storage environments. Enterprises should consider enabling a cloud storage infrastructure to put data growth in its place. This will also lead to optimization of costs.

- The author, Darshan Joshi, is vice president, Storage and Availability Management Group at Symantec