11 Reasons to Choose Public Cloud Storage

Thursday Dec 8th 2016 by Drew Robb
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Here are eleven areas where the public cloud has an advantage over in-house storage solutions.

Like the heavyweight classics Ali vs. Frazier and Tyson vs. Holyfield, a battle is raging between cloud storage and on-premise storage. Who will be left standing at the end? Which hand will the referee hold aloft in victory? Or will it forever be a disputed decision with fans demanding a rematch?

In this article, we'll look at eleven areas where public cloud storage offers an advantage.

1. Cloud Backup

Consensus is building in favor of the public cloud for backup. By storing backup copies in public cloud storage you can reduce the load on on-premise storage.

“The IT professional should configure their backup retention schedule to keep a limited number of copies on premises and move older copies to the cloud,” said Bob Spurzem, director of field marketing at Archive360.

2. Cloud Archive

Many organizations understand the tremendous load that unstructured data places on in-house file shares, legacy email archives and document repositories. Yet this data is an important source of business intelligence and requires preservation for legal and regulatory compliance.

“Public cloud storage is the ideal location to store unstructured data as it costs as little as $0.02 per GB per month, and includes benefits such as scalability, high availability, and advanced security measures,” said Spurzem. “By placing your backup and archival data into the public cloud, your internal IT team can reclaim those hours and IT resources and rededicate them to activities that increase business agility, maintain and create competitive advantage, and more directly impact the bottom line.”

3. Non-Critical Apps

IT managers are looking at all means possible of reducing costs, and the public cloud can be an enabler. As non-critical applications move to the cloud, therefore, the data does as well.

“Aging on-premises applications, if deemed to be non-business critical, should be replaced with cloud equivalents or decommissioned,” said Spurzem.

4. Less Valuable Data

It’s wise to talk to stakeholders such as department heads and legal to determine the value of data. An inventory map of all data in the organization may be an arduous task, but it pays large dividends in the end. High-value or sensitive data should be retained, and the rest sent offsite if it can be done economically.

“Once the value of data is known, the decision to keep it on premise or move to the cloud is straightforward,” said Spurzem. “Files and documents are the easiest to move and store in the cloud. Email archives, document repositories and custom applications are more challenging and require specialty migration tools.”

5. Infrequently Accessed Data

Public cloud storage works well for content that is infrequently accessed but needs to be available. Backups, lower priority or non-sensitive content, and content that has aged out without recent activity all are good candidates for public cloud storage.

For example, SharePoint, which powers the majority of enterprise collaboration environments, stores a massive amount of content. But 85 percent of content stored in SharePoint is never retrieved, and 60 percent is out of date. Much of this content is not sensitive and would be good candidates for public cloud storage.

“Another example is Internet of Things (IoT) data,” said Paul LaPorte, director of product, Metalogix. “This kind of data is massive and continually grows from thousands of input sources.”

6. Geographically Disperse Staff

Another use case for public cloud storage is non-sensitive content that is accessed by large number of users scattered across all geographies. Organizations struggle with the burden on managing multiple in-house data centers located beside their employees. Others invested a fortune in networking technologies, attempting to be able to feed data from their headquarters to staff on the other side of the world without too much latency. But the public cloud may be an alternate solution.

“Large public clouds can support placing the content near users across a vast array of data centers, enabling reasonable performance at an appropriate cost,” said LaPorte.

7. Need for Fast Provisioning

Few organizations have their act together when it comes to providing immediate service to departments who urgently need new storage. Instead, they tend to slow things down with the traditional pattern of budgeting, purchase orders, product selection, ordering of hardware, installation and provisioning. The cloud provides a way to bypass that.

“Public cloud enables agility and flexibility and should be in every organization's tool chest,” said Scott Adametz, product solutions architect at SwiftStack. “While in operations for different broadcasters, I remember spinning up R&D projects in Amazon to avoid the delays inherent with physical hardware budgeting, provisioning and configuration. I'd test for a few hours at a time and spin down between, saving money.”

8. Lack of In-House Resources

Irshad Raihan, senior principal, product marketing at Red Hat, brought up another reason to favor public cloud storage — lack of experience or in-house talent to deal with on-premise storage complexity. It might be simpler and cheaper to work out how to live with the public cloud rather than trying to recruit, train and manage an in-house team. If the existing IT infrastructure is aging, too, that can further tip the balance in favor of the public cloud.

9. Opex Budgeting

Some businesses like to control capital expenses (capex) and favor it in budgeting. Others take the view that it is best to minimize capex and translate everything into predictable operating expenses (opex). If the latter view holds, the public cloud may make the most sense.

“The public cloud is best for companies that prioritize operating expense over capital expenses, as they are not making investments in hardware, licenses and support,” said Raihan.

10. Apps in the Cloud

If apps have largely been migrated to the cloud, it may not make sense to then build or maintain a large in-house storage infrastructure.

“Another good user for public cloud storage is when you move your applications to the public cloud so the data is close to where the applications exist,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group.

11. High Peak Demand

Some businesses have a very predictable storage capacity rate. When they model capacity into the future, the predictions of when additional capacity will be needed and when bandwidth or throughput will be constrained are usually pretty accurate. But that’s far from everyone. Some businesses experience a once-a-year peak or a rare frenzy of activity.

For example, some businesses do half their annual turnover at Christmas. Other businesses may have a huge product launch which can triple traffic over night – yet is short lived. Another possible scenario is a business that sets up an event which has live video feeds and massive social media interactions for a few hours. These are some of the situations where the extra storage needed would lie unutilized for the bulk of the time.

“Public cloud storage can be leveraged for short-term peak storage demand spikes, allowing businesses to control their capex while gaining scalability and agility,” said Jason Pan, senior director, business development and product marketing at Promise Technology.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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