Hybrid cloud services and storage products: A buyer's checklist

Hybrid cloud services and products offer a “best of both worlds” approach by bridging locally installed storage and cloud storage. Learn how to evaluate hybrid cloud solutions.

Cloud storage services are attractive to a variety of organizations -- from small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises -- that need to implement data storage systems but don’t want to lay out big capital expenditures. Cloud storage is a pay-as-you-go utility that can scale up and down according to current requirements. But many companies are still hesitant to commit to cloud storage because of the prospect of protracted data recoveries and the difficulties of interfacing with storage providers.

A new class of storage product has emerged to help address this confidence gap: hybrid cloud services. The hybrid services may be delivered in plug-and-play appliances or as software-only solutions that require a little DIY. Either way, the hybrid approach is an effective means of tapping into cloud storage. As you explore the hybrid cloud storage landscape, you’ll have to answer some important questions as:

  • Is a software or hardware product best?
  • Do we need an appliance with local storage?
  • Will we use the hybrid product for primary or near-line data?
  • How will the hybrid approach affect backup?
  • How good is the storage service behind the hybrid product?

This "Buyer's Checklist on Hybrid Cloud Storage Products and Services" will answer the above questions and provide you with what you need to know to evaluate and configure a hybrid cloud storage solution.

Table of Contents

Evaluating hybrid cloud products and services

Cloud services are about reducing cost, and cloud service providers should be able to provide common services at a lower price point. Learn about the relationship between hybrid cloud storage and your IT strategy to analyze whether or not a hybrid cloud solution is the right answer for your organization.

Key considerations: Hybrid cloud services

There are a number of important hybrid cloud storage attributes you need to consider -- such as virtual appliances, physical appliances, high availability and cloud provider compatibility, among others -- before committing to a cloud provider's service. Learn the details surrounding those factors and what additional storage services might be necessary.

The order of things: Planning for hybrid storage

Find out the questions to ask, and steps you should take, before making any hybrid cloud storage purchase. Consider the business implications and ask the right questions about service-level agreements, recovery point objectives (RPO), recovery time objectives (RTO) and your return on investment (ROI).

BIO: Phil Goodwin is a storage consultant and freelance writer.

This was first published in November 2011

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