• Arun Taneja's cloud tips: Wrangling the benefits out of cloud storage

    Cloud storage can be a difficult beast to wrangle. Whether you're contemplating which applications to move into the cloud, or just trying to understand how to select and deal with a cloud storage provider, making a decision about a cloud storage solution for your business environment isn't an easy process.

    In the first two articles in his cloud tips series, Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at Hopkinton, Mass.-based Taneja Group, explains how to avoid vendor lock-in and the benefits of incorporating the cloud into your disaster recovery (DR) strategy. In his third and fourth tips on working in the cloud, Taneja helps readers understand the ins and outs of cloud storage gateways, and lists the best (and worst) applications to place into the cloud.

  • Three approaches to hybrid cloud technology

    The never-ending cloud marketing chatter continues to obscure the distinctions between traditional storage systems and public, private and hybrid cloud storage technology. This confusion is common in any tech market when a paradigm shift takes place. Muddying the waters gives established vendors time to acquire successful startups or develop their own technology to meet the new demand.

    This three-part expert video tip series, by Dragon Slayer Consulting founder and senior analyst Marc Staimer, explores ways to implement hybrid cloud technology, and the pros and cons associated with each approach. Why a hybrid cloud? Because it provides immediate cloud storage benefits while increasing performance, local control, manageability and flexibility.

    Cloud storage delivers functionality and capabilities designed to solve demanding storage problems such as:

    • Simplifying massive amounts of passive data from dozens of petabytes to exabytes, and even zetabytes and trillions of files/objects in a single storage container.
    • Scaling access and performance that maintains a lockstep with capacity growth.
    • Taking distributed geographic locations out of the planning picture while maintaining geographic awareness.
    • Ensuring stored data is highly resilient and self-healing, with enduring persistence for years, decades and even centuries.
    • Enabling multiple tenants privately and securely.
    • Empowering user self-service and policy-based capacity/performance on demand.
    • Changing the way storage is bought and paid for by charging only for the actual storage used in arrears versus charging upfront for all the storage system’s unused raw storage.
    • Ending disruptive technology refreshes and data migration.

    Public cloud storage is offered by cloud service providers. Data is kept off site in a service provider’s data center or in multiple data centers in various locations on a pay-per-stored-gigabyte basis. Public cloud storage is a perfect remote repository for passive or distributed data with infrequent user access.

    But public cloud storage comes with performance issues. The biggest problem is the latency involved in moving data to and from a service provider’s storage cloud. While private cloud storage solves the distance latency issue, it's limited to private data centers and/or infrastructure-as-a-service supplier data centers if utilized. That's where hybrid cloud storage enters into play. Hybrid cloud storage technology combines the best of private and public clouds by delivering local performance, plus all the benefits of public cloud storage.

    Read Staimer's three-part tip series to find out how to implement hybrid cloud technology in your own organization.

  • How-to guide: Object storage system implementation

    Object storage systems have become a recognized alternative to file- and block-based systems, especially for public and private cloud storage infrastructures. Traditional file systems suffer from limited scalability and metadata due to their hierarchical structures, slowing performance and making tasks like data protection and capacity optimization more difficult. Object storage relieves both of these problems, providing enough metadata to ease security, optimization and data resiliency processes, while offering an indexed file structure that's ideal for unstructured data and allows files to be dispersed over wide geographic areas with a minimized effect on performance.

    While the advantages of using an object storage system instead of a traditional file system may be clear, the many details of successfully implementing this technology are not. The way object storage deals with protocols and metadata -- plus its lack of standards -- can create a learning curve for those unfamiliar with the technology. The following object storage guide is designed to keep data storage administrators informed of the advantages, disadvantages and new product offerings surrounding object storage.

  • Cloud planning guide

    More and more organizations are implementing some form of cloud data storage into their environment. Results from Storage magazine's fall 2012 storage Purchasing Intentions survey finds 29% of respondents use cloud storage services for non-backup applications. According to Storage Media Group editorial director Rich Castagna, who crunched the numbers from that survey, that's approximately double the number of organizations reporting cloud storage use back in 2010.

    When asked about their cloud planning priorities, data backup topped respondents' lists. Collaboration/file sharing, disaster recovery, primary storage and data archiving rounded out the list of ways that users plan to interact with the cloud.

    For data storage managers faced with questions around cloud storage, this cloud planning guide highlights the "must-know" information surrounding the technology. What's the best cloud data storage option for your environment? What questions does a cloud storage provider need to answer and what guarantees do you need from a service-level agreement before you sign on the dotted line? What differentiates cloud storage pricing from traditional data storage pricing? Do you need to perform backup and recovery now that your data is in the cloud? Can you keep everything in the "limitless" cloud or should you have a cloud-based storage policy? All these questions and more will be answered in this cloud storage implementation planning guide.

  • A guide to online file-sharing services

    Whether IT teams like it or not, employees at many companies are using online file sharing to collaborate with colleagues while working with data stored on devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The good news for users is that online file-sharing services make it easier for them to share information from anywhere. The bad news for IT teams is that they're losing control of data because much of it is stored on unsupported devices. While some large companies have banned online file sharing, many more are trying to develop a strategy around online file-sharing services that keeps both IT and users happy and productive.

    This guide presents numerous use cases and analyst perspectives that TechTarget has collected over the last few years to create a one-stop resource for investigating the impact online file-sharing services could have on your data center.