On-premises public storage clouds eliminate WAN

In the last tip in our three-part tip series on hybrid cloud storage, Dragon Slayer Consulting founder and senior analyst Marc Staimer looks at hybrid cloud storage that essentially pulls a public cloud into a private data center rather than moves the data over the WAN to storage clouds. Tip one explains an implementation approach typically known as a federated private-public cloud, while tip 2 examines the pros and cons associated with integrating on-premises storage with a public cloud.

This strategy essentially places part of a public storage cloud on the premises of your organization so you don’t need to move data over the WAN to a public storage cloud. This extension is commonly managed entirely by a service provider. While a gateway serves as an on-ramp to public cloud storage, a public cloud extension makes part of the data center storage a full-blown part of the storage cloud. This means it's in constant communication with all the public storage cloud data centers, not just one. It has all the autonomic self-healing and resilience functionality of the public storage cloud itself. The data will eventually migrate to other off-site facilities of the public cloud, but it can do it so much faster because it will be sent to different nodes in different facilities in parallel. This is very different than a company owning its own gateway -- there's no cloud functionality at the gateway (no autonomic healing, multi-tenancy, unlimited scalability and so on). Extending the cloud to your premises provides all those things because federation with all the nodes and geographic locations of the storage cloud starts at the customer site.

Read the rest of Staimer's hybrid cloud technology tip series

Federated private-public clouds yield advantages when built correctly

Lower cloud data storage costs by merging private storage with public cloud

The pros of a public storage cloud extension into the private data center are:

  • Much faster data migration into the public storage cloud because of concurrent data transfers into multiple facilities.
  • Managed by a public storage cloud service provider. No on-site management personnel required and no training necessary.
  • Convenience of local storage with local response times, lower latency and local control, but with all the functionality (such as unlimited scalability, geographic dispersion based on policy and autonomic self-healing with incredible data resilience) of cloud storage.
  • Lower overall total cost of ownership because there's no requirement for an intermediary storage system and supporting infrastructure (racks, floor space, cables, cable runs, power, cooling and so on) in between.
  • Tech refresh is a complete non-issue. Cloud storage doesn't have tech refresh issues because no data is migrated. The data is either restored from another copy or via erasure codes as nodes within the storage cloud are replaced online.

The cons of a public storage cloud extension into the private data center are:

  • Cloud integration remains. Private storage, applications, file system or volume managers must still be integrated with the local public storage cloud.
  • Most applications, file system or volume managers must be modified (code written) to write to or from public cloud storage -- and that code must be documented, quality assured, patched and fixed on an ongoing basis. As previously noted, many software vendors have added or will be adding this capability natively to their software.
  • Each public storage cloud has its own proprietary API. A slow public storage cloud adoption rate for the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard currently makes the less capable Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) de facto API standard the best available.
  • Higher public storage cloud costs; because there's no inherent deduplication or compression, more data is kept in the storage clouds.

BIO: Marc Staimer is the founder and senior analyst at Dragon Slayer Consulting in Beaverton, Ore. The consulting practice of 14 years has focused on the areas of strategic planning, product development and market development. With more than 32 years of marketing, sales and business experience in infrastructure, storage, server, software and virtualization, Marc is considered one of the industry’s leading experts.

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