Storage-as-a-Service: Eliminating the Storage Dilemma

CIO priorities have been shifting steadily toward business outcomes, and away from tech-centric initiatives. For many, the key to attacking those priorities has been outsourcing critical but non-core business processes and activities like application development and help desk functions which allows them to focus on positive business outcomes.

And in light of the pressures applied by significant trends in data growth and information management, "Storage-as-a-Service" is now emerging as the new paradigm for data protection, including PC and server offsite backup, recovery and archiving, and putting that critical electronic business data into action. With Storage-as-a-Service, organizations can get quick, "rich" access to their information for eDiscovery, business continuity, disaster recovery, regulatory compliance with Rule 26 and more, internal and external audits and other demands.

View this on-demand webcast and learn from industry experts, Doug Chandler, Research Director, Infrastructure Services, at IDC and John Clancy, President, at Iron Mountain Digital, how Storage-as-a-Service meets today's CIO's top priorities.

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

Storage-as-a-Service: Eliminating the Storage Dilemma

Jon Panker: Hello, and welcome to this video cast on outsourcing and Storage-as-a-Service.  My name is Jon Panker.  You know one way CIO's today are attacking business priority is by outsourcing critical, but none core business processes.  I'm talking about things like application development, and help desk functions.  Storage-as-a-Service is emerging as a model for capturing, storing and protecting data.  Putting critical electronic business data into action.  With the emergence of Storage-as-a-Service we're here today to talk about outsourcing and Storage-as-a-Service with two men who know this market very well.  So joining us today are Doug Chandler.  Doug is IDC's Research Director for Infrastructure Services, and John Clancy is here.  John is president of Iron Mountain Digital. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today.   Doug, we'll begin with you.  I'll start out by asking you to define for us the online back up services market.  Archival storage services, and tell us Doug why do you see such tremendous potential for this particular market?

Doug Chandler: Online back up services in IDC's definition are services that are subscribed to by customer.  They're provided by a third party, typically from a remote site.  These are subscription services provided online.  The data that's being stored online is backed up data that would typically in the past be stored on tape back up.  In the archiving example we're looking mostly today at email archiving, posted email archiving where email is being archived off site to a remote provider for long term retention.  We see a great opportunity for big growth in this market.   We have double digit growth projections in both of those areas.  Online back up and online archiving.  Any number of reasons today, there's a tremendous pressure on customers  inside the organization to begin to manage things like back up and archiving more efficiently, more effectively.  They're having issues around regulatory compliance for example, particularly around email.  We also see much more comfortableness if you will from customers around the software as a service model. And this has a positive impact on things like Storage-as-a-Service, online back up, online archiving. 

Jon Panker: So how do you view the Storage-as-a-Service concept, and what should IT professionals look for as they're evaluating off site data protection and storage services?                                                     

Doug Chandler: So today we see the early adopters typically are the small and medium sized businesses.  These are the customers that have less IT staff on hand to run things like backup, and archiving, and are feeling the same kinds of pressures that the enterprise customers are.  However we also see this storage as a concept being tested very closely by many enterprises.  So these are enterprises that I mentioned are looking at real serious regulatory compliance issues around things like archiving and are looking for alternatives to continue to buy.  In some cases 50% more disc storage capacity every year.  Are there alternatives to that, maybe Storage-as-a-Service provides an opportunity there.  As far as what customers are looking for in these services and the kinds of things they're requiring. 

One key thing is they're looking to providers that they can trust.  They're looking for reliability from a provider.  Somebody that has track record in things like data management.  That has reference accounts that they can talk about.   They've worked with customers around things like archiving and backup.   They're also looking for choices around service levels.  Because not every service level fits every customer.  They're looking for options around pricing.  And they would like the processes of the service provider to work with their internal processes around things like backup and archiving.  

We also find customers today more and more today concerned about things like data privacy and data security.  They want to know that the provider has a good program and plan around security.  Are they using encryption, is the data encrypted from the customers site back to the provider site.  And in general they're looking for a  trusted provider.  It's not a scenario where a large enterprise in particular is going to want to turn their data over to someone that they don't trust. 

Jon Panker: At what rate do you think Storage-as-a-Service will be adopted by both midsize and large enterprises?

Doug Chandler: So the early adopters again have been the small and medium sized businesses.  As I said, because their IT resources aren't as strong and they're more open to alternatives.  However we do see enterprises doing some serious evaluation of these services already.  There are a number of reasons for that.  Many of them include pressures around litigation risk, compliance, e-discovery needs around email and archiving, and as a matter of fact.  The early adopters of email archiving as a hosted service were the financial service businesses on Wall Street several years ago.  So there are plenty of examples of enterprise experimenting with this model.  I think as they become more comfortable with the software as a service model they begin to procure software that way.  These storage services will also become part of that mix, and part of that platform.

Jon Panker: What are the key advantages for managing data under the Storage-as-a-Service model?

Doug Chandler: So one of the things that we stress to customers and we also hear from customers is that the value of these services isn't so much the data is being backed up and archived, but that it's retrievable and useable.  The corollary to that is that customers now are beginning to take advantage of technologies like data de-duplication for example through the use of these services.  And data classification, and data indexing that they couldn't do themselves.  Now their service providers can help them with in an archiving service or in a backup service.  So the data is really in active archive in many cases and that's important for customers as they find that they need to keep going back to fix content in many cases and use it on a regular basis.  So the archive isn't necessarily kind of lost for years and years,  but that that data is useful over time.

Jon Panker: Doug, I really want to thank you for joining us and sharing your perspective on Storage-as-a-Service.  Now we want to turn our attention to John Clancy.  John is president of Iron Mountain  Digital.  He's here to share with us Iron Mountain's perspective on Storage-as-a-Service.  John thanks so much for being here.  I'll start out by asking you to tell us a little bit more about Iron Mountain's perspective on outsourcing in general. 

John Clancy: We talk to customers about outsourcing in general, and Storage-as-a-Service specifically.  We tend to hear two major themes.  Whether it's a small or medium business or one of the largest best companies in business.  The smart companies are good about making decisions.  In particular making decisions about what's core to the business and then what's contextual to the business.  And they tend to hold on to things that are core, and watch those, almost like a heart monitor.  Keep their fingerprints on it, they want to make sure that that doesn't leave their sight. 

But then the other things that are more contextual to the business they're more open to trusting a third party expert to help them manage that part of the business.  And then specifically when we talk about Storage-as-a-Service, when we listen to customers in the market in general  we learn that the world is changing.  That if you think back five or ten years ago, specifically around backup and archiving that is where data went to rest.  Sometimes even where data went to die.  Today it's where data goes to exercise, and with new Federal rules of civil procedure, with new government regulations, and also just in a post Enron era there are a good corporate governance. 

Companies are worried about that data and they want to make sure it's exercised properly.  That it's being held for the appropriate amount of time.   It's being destroyed when it's no longer necessary, and that puts a lot of pressure on IT departments and CIO's.  So they're looking at that part of the business saying perhaps it's not core, doesn't necessarily keep the lights on everyday.  But we have to have it as a core competency.  So we're better off doing it ourselves or are we better off trusting a third party.  And what we're seeing in the market place right now that those decisions are really driving a lot of outsourcing activity, and certainly driving out business quite a bit as well.

Jon Panker: What is Iron Mountain Digital's Storage-as-a-Service vision?

John Clancy:   Well first and foremost  I think it's important to note that Storage-as-a-Service really is a business model.  It's not just a product strategy, or a small division in a large technology company.  It's a business model where the entire business needs to be aligned around delivering Storage-as-a-Service for the benefit of a customer.  The way we do that is through our vision.  Our vision basically boils down to three main areas.  First is that you have to be very efficient at capturing and transporting data.  Secondly you have to be excellent at storing and protecting that data.  And then third, most importantly you have to make that data useful. 

If you think back traditional back up and archival technologies did a decent job of capturing data, transporting it, and then storing and protecting it.  That's traditionally been the two rails of backup and archiving.  But the world is changing.  Data is becoming more valuable and therefore customers need to access that data, it needs to become more actionable.  So Iron Mountain Digital's vision around storage as service is combining all three.  And then in the usefulness area for Storage-as-a-Service it's doing things that we first and foremost call records management enabled storage.  So the concept of being able to search effectively on data.  The concept of being able to classify and retain data for a certain amount of time.  And then just as importantly destroy that data when it's at the end of it's useful life.  But then after that it's wrapping it also with discovery. 

So the world of litigation in today's environment is sometimes out of control with large corporations and the whole concept around e-discovery is taking this information you already have, find out what is useful. Finding out what should be actionable and then allowing companies to efficiently and cost effectively protect themselves and also prepare for the future as well.  So we like to think of it in terms of making data useful is giving that data x-ray vision.  So when you combine all three, capturing, and transporting data, storing and protecting data, and then most importantly making that data useful. 

Jon Panker:  So what does Storage-as-a-Service mean to the CIO?

John Clancy: At the highest level it means we do the work and you get the credit, so you can sleep good at night.  It also has a benefit that a lot of CIO's are figuring out right now.  Their worlds changing and it use to be just about for IT to keep data safe. Have a disaster recovery plan in place, keep the lights on, and you were doing your job.  Now there's a convergence happening with IT where the records management folks are becoming more and more influencer in the world of IT and in the world of the CIO.  CIO's also have to think about the opposite general counsel.  So between records management where more and more records are becoming digital. 

And in IT where they're being asked to do more work and actually treat that information as a record, and then  office of general council calling for e-discovery of litigation support.  The CIO's world is becoming a lot more challenging.  So software as a service and more specifically in our business.  Storage-as-a-Service gives CIO's the opportunity to pick a provider that has expertise, not only in standard IT, keeping the lights on, and keeping things safe and protected.  But can also wrap in the expertise around records management and around knowledge office of the general council whether it be in e-discovery, or litigation support.  That really brings the whole picture together around protecting data, capturing data, and then of course making that data useful.

Jon Panker: So the question is can companies really afford not to outsource?

John Clancy: I think some of the companies that probably won't be here today or tomorrow, are still trying to do it all themselves.  But the great companies are adept at making those decisions about what they should do themselves and then what they should rely on others.  Trust the third parties, experts in the area, to hold accountable.  And one thing we want to make when companies look at that.  Certainly we advise companies to is to go forward and find the companies that have the reputation for doing it, that have the customer list, that have decades of experience in outsourcing and then make sure you have the right service level agreement with those companies to drive the level of service you're going to need to continue to run your business.   When looking at outsourcing options companies should be thinking about who can do this better than I can myself, who can do it faster than I can.  And then of course, who can help me save money in that area.

Jon Panker: All right, one final question for you.  In closing what would you say are the top Storage-as-a-Service checkpoints?

John Clancy:  When customers are considering Storage-as-a-Service as an option they really should look at a multitude of things.  Some of the more important ones we see customers look at, first and foremost would be security.  Your data, you can argue is one of your most important assets out side of your people.  So you want to make sure if it's going somewhere else that it's in the most secure environment.  Perhaps more secure than you can do yourself.  So security would be job number one.  Secondly would be cost effectiveness.  Why would anyone outsource something more expensively you would always do it yourself if it couldn't be less expensive.  The third thing companies should look at is service delivery. It's one thing to put data somewhere and hope that it comes back. It's another to make sure that the person at the other end of the line whether you're trying to recover something or actually speak to them about the data is there.  Trusted, proven, and has put their money where their mouth is to have a strong service delivery arm.  I'd say lastly you have to do the examination between what's core and what's contextual.  And if it isn't that contextual, can that partner do it better than you can do it yourself and then also will that free up your IT resources to do things that are more strategic and more core to the business.

Jon Panker: Gentlemen we appreciate your joining us here today, thanks so much for your time.  That is going to conclude our video cast on Storage-as-a-Service.  For more information on Storage-as-a-Service, visit  Have a great day.

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