Hybrid cloud is getting some serious consideration from enterprises these days, providing users with the option of supplementing primary data center storage with the cloud. However, factors such as cost, security and getting data back out of the cloud keep many enterprises from pursuing a hybrid cloud integration project.
In his Storage Decisions Tech Talk, George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland, discussed hybrid cloud integration and the issues holding people back from implementing the technology in their environments. "I think the immediate reaction to that is going to be security, right? Everybody is very concerned about cloud security," Crump said. However, he pointed out that such concerns have led cloud providers to improve their security in a big way.
Despite the potential of the hybrid cloud cutting costs, Crump warned that, over time, the opposite could be true. "The bigger challenge is long-term cost," he explained, which can steer some enterprises away from a hybrid cloud integration strategy. Crump recommended organizations ask themselves how long they plan to keep their data in the cloud and how much data they have. "The answer to the first question dictates how much that second answer can be," Crump explained. "Because if you're going to keep data in the cloud for 50 years, the upfront cost sounds great, but paying for it for 50 years could get very expensive."
Other concerns with hybrid cloud integration include getting data out of the cloud and latency issues with primary data. For getting your data back, Crump recommended taking a look at cloud mirroring or local storage to ease the process, though that could also increase costs. When storing production or primary data in the cloud, users can confront latency by working with a cloud provider who utilizes local points of presence. "If you had a data center in Philadelphia, you could get good access from Boston, down to Washington D.C.," he noted.
Transcript - Hybrid cloud integration issues solved
I'm Sarah Wilson, site editor at SearchCloudStorage. I'm talking to George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland, about the cloud. Thank you for being here, George.
George Crump: Thanks for having me.
What would you say is the biggest thing holding people back from moving more data into the cloud?
Crump: I think the immediate reaction to that is going to be security. Everybody is very concerned about cloud security. What we're finding is that providers have actually gotten quite good at security. The bigger challenge is long-term cost. When we're talking to an IT organization about cloud and cloud storage, we ask them two questions: How long are you going to keep it in the cloud, and how much data do you have? The answer to the first question really dictates how much that second answer can be. If you're going to keep data in the cloud for 50 years, the upfront cost sounds great, but paying for it for 50 years could get very expensive.
Getting data out of the cloud is a big concern for a lot of enterprises. Are there any steps they can take to make sure they can easily do that?
Crump: There are two options. You can essentially do what we would call a cloud mirror, where you put in two separate cloud repositories. Obviously, that increases your cost, because now you're paying for cloud storage twice. Another option would be to store [data] in a cold format locally, so that could be, for example, object storage locally, or even tape locally.
What would you say are the main concerns regarding primary or production data in the cloud?
Crump: Probably the big issue -- if you're running the production application on-premises and accessing it through the cloud -- is obviously going to be latency. Now, there are some providers that have addressed that by having, essentially, what we would call local points of presence, or POPs, within a metro area. And given today's networking technologies, you don't have to be as close as you used to. You can get decent, millisecond type of access. If you had a data center in Philadelphia, you could get good access from Boston, down to Washington D.C., as an example. That region, frankly, covers a huge chunk of the United States.
The other [big issue] is going to be the locale of the application itself. Is it going to run in the cloud or is it going to be running on premises?
That wraps up our video on cloud storage, so thanks for joining me again, George.
Crump: Thanks for having me.
I'm Sarah Wilson and for more information on the cloud, be sure to visit SearchCloudStorage.