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How options in the cloud storage market are changing

The cloud storage market is growing as more IT pros jump on the bandwagon, despite security concerns. Private or public clouds are no longer the only options to choose from. Recently, more vendors are offering hybrid clouds or cloud controllers. For storage admins looking to implement a cloud storage strategy, the first step is knowing the differences among the technologies in the cloud storage market, but knowing which one is best for their environment is just as important. In this video from TechTarget's Storage Decisions conference in New York, George Crump, president of Storage Switzerland LLC, explains these different types of cloud storage, and discusses factors that can help determine which type should be used.

George, let's get started by talking about hybrid projects. How do you define them?

George Crump: Well, I think you'll get conflicting opinions, but in my viewpoint, anytime you go hybrid is when you're [using] an appliance, or a piece of software that will act as an appliance, that acts as a bridge or gateway to an external cloud service. We recommend [that] people do that. For me, the real easy way to define it is, if you don't control the software code of an application or whatever, then you need to look at a gateway or a hybrid type of approach.

The gateway market has really evolved. Talk to me about how you see the role of appliances in cloud projects.

Crump: I think that they've evolved more out of sort of the bridge, and they're a permanent placement for many organizations at this point. For many organizations, there's really no need to go back and change the application or the processes, it just becomes an extension of what they already do.

The gateway or controller market is crowded -- how should you decide which one is best for you?

Crump: Well, it depends. You're generally going to have three choices. You're going to have software that installs as an agent on a server or maybe on a laptop or something like that. You're going to have a piece of software that acts as an appliance, typically as a virtual machine, or you're going to have a standalone physical appliance. The difference between a software appliance and a standalone physical appliance is going to be the predictability of service. There's nothing else interfering with the physical appliance, so it's always going to generally have the same performance. The advantage of a software appliance is that it's much more cost-effective to deploy.

The broader agent approach you'll see much more in a file sync and share type of operation where you're trying to roll out the never-ending search for enterprise dropbox type of functionality -- that's where you’ll see that sort of thing. You'll see that much more in endpoint [types] of applications.

Can you elaborate on how types of data might influence your decision?

Crump: The file sync and share is probably the most immediate example of that need to go to an endpoint, large agent deployment because you don't know what's going to connect and how many things are going to connect. Of course nowadays people have three or four devices that they're going to connect themselves. And potentially also, a backup type of rollout would be similar. Then for more of an application type of approach, like an extension, for example, you'll see an extension to a storage tier, that's going to tend to have a more appliance approach.

Some people will also build a private cloud. Can you define that for me?

Crump: Sure, a private cloud is, you're taking a cloud philosophy and taking it within your data center. Within your data center could be multiple locations, but behind your firewall or whatever your zone of protection would be. So, you're basically taking cloud methodologies and just applying them internally.

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