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Three reasons to consider a multi-cloud storage strategy

Storing data in multiple clouds is a fairly new strategy, but it's useful for companies that want to control cloud costs, protect privacy and ensure their data is always available.

When it comes to the cloud, companies are no longer wrapped up in "Is-it-safe?" discussions. Instead, organizations...

are worried about how to best utilize multiple clouds.

One advantage to using a multi-cloud storage strategy is that it gives organizations the flexibility to choose the best options. Infrastructure-as-a-service providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure provide dozens of individual services. For instance, a single cloud might provide multiple storage types as well as the ability to host virtual machine instances and database and directory services.

Within any public cloud, some services are more mature and stable, or they perform better than others. For example, the storage services that a cloud provider has offered for many years are usually more reliable than a new machine learning tool the provider introduced last week.

Granular control over cloud costs

A multi-cloud storage strategy allows organizations to capitalize on each cloud provider's strengths. Businesses might find that one cloud provider excels when it comes to object storage, whereas another provider's strong suit is directory services. Using multi-cloud storage gives organizations access to the best cloud-based services, regardless of which provider offers them.

Using multiple clouds also gives organizations granular control over costs. Cloud service providers set usage rates for individual services, but businesses that utilize multiple clouds can pick and choose which services they use based on which provider offers the best rates for those services. One provider might charge 2 cents less per gigabyte of storage than another. A different cloud provider might offer a better rate for running virtual machine instances. When an organization subscribes to multiple cloud providers, they can realize the greatest cost benefit for the services they use.

Business continuity

Adopting a multi-cloud storage strategy can help ensure business continuity in times of disaster. Individual cloud providers make it possible for an organization to shield itself against regional disasters. Major cloud providers have data centers throughout the world, and subscribers can place cloud resources in multiple regions to ensure they remain available in the event of a disaster.

There is always a slim possibility that a zero-day attack could affect a cloud service provider on a global scale, and if an attack truly were global, then it would not matter that mission-critical business resources had been distributed across various regions. All regions would be affected. Because such an attack would focus on a specific cloud provider however, the resources in a different cloud should be unaffected. Hence, adopting a multi-cloud storage strategy allows for a level of redundancy that cannot be achieved using a single cloud provider.

Preservation of privacy

When properly implemented, the use of multiple clouds can help ensure data privacy. Even today, some companies are reluctant to place their most sensitive data in the public cloud because of privacy concerns. One way to mitigate these concerns is to use erasure coding to distribute data across multiple clouds. This ensures that no single cloud provider has a complete copy of the data. The cloud provider would be unable to read your data even if it wanted to. Similarly, if a provider suffered a security breach, the attacker would not be able to gain access to the incomplete data set.

Next Steps

Technological evolution starts with infrastructure

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ZeroStack cloud-in a-box available on Nimble

This was last published in November 2017

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