Data in the cloud

Steve Bailey, regional operations director for CommVault Middle East, says the future is cloudy for data storage and enterprises in the region.

Tags: CommVault Systems Incorporated
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Data in the cloud Storage in the cloud is an attractive proposition, but can it be managed and is it secure?
By  Steve Bailey Published  October 10, 2011

Steve Bailey, regional operations director for CommVault Middle East, says the future is cloudy for data storage and enterprises in the region.

Things have come a long way since ‘storage-as-a-service’ was first touted as the revolution that would change datacentres.

So what has changed in the time since to enable cloud storage economics to be realised without compromising data and information integrity? The decision to adopt cloud storage typically comes down to two factors: Are the business needs, and the subsequent benefits enough? Also, is the capability available to enact that change?

What businesses demand from data management is straightforward: the ability to search all information, in addition to being able to hold, delete, and audit stored information. By doing so, they hope to remove costs, and increase efficiency.

It all seems so simple, but meeting these needs with growing data volumes, static budgets and legacy data systems is difficult.  So, can the cloud help business?  The concerns over moving to cloud are fairly universal and, unsurprisingly, security and privacy remain at the forefront, so it is critical that such issues are addressed.

Where data within the cloud actually resides is a concern, especially when cloud utilities operate in foreign countries, and local government has legal recourse to access that stored data. While many governments do hold such rights, the reality is that they are unlikely to enforce these rights.

Reliability is another consideration, particularly in terms of ensuring seamless integration for managing data as the volume of data stored in the cloud increases. For nearly half of all businesses, this will be between 6TB and 75TB of data, meaning cloud adoption in certain cases will become reliant on the availability of fibre with bandwidth that will not be over-saturated.

Customers are looking for help as the pressures mount to store, maintain and access data for increasing periods of time.  Moving data is easy; it is the control (security, access and management) of information that must be resolved. After all, you would not publish your personal financial details to an online store without this in place, so why would you entrust your business’s data without it?

Instead of storing non-critical data locally, where maintenance costs are high, you could simply move the specified data to a cloud storage provider, and take full advantage of someone else’s economies of scale.  You can also move it in a compressed and de-duplicated format to take advantage of the bandwidth available and secure it using encryption capabilities managed in-house. While doing so, you can maintain an index of the data and the capability to retrieve that data as though it were local. The key is maintaining control and ensuring a safe (at rest and encrypted) copy of that data and its associated information is always available.

Cloud storage is not just a cost saving exercise, but it also removes the headaches of risk and complexity.  By choosing a cloud data store, we can finally eliminate the complications of tape handling, media expiry and rotation, and the timely retrieval process.  No more vans, no more tapes, no more hoping that when data has left the building, that it is safe and accounted for.  The data appears as if it was local, but is in fact sitting remotely, giving customers control, visibility and immediate access.

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