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Cloud-based data storage: Two ways to use the cloud

Cloud technology has swiftly cemented itself as a viable data storage option for many enterprises. But there are a number of approaches to using the cloud. In this Tech Talk, George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland, discussed hybrid clouds and two use cases for getting the most out of your cloud-based data storage plan.

Hybrid clouds are a popular cloud-based data storage option. "If you're looking at hybrid cloud storage, what you're typically going to have is a storage system that's very similar to what a cloud provider uses in your data center," Crump explained. "You're going to keep data there for a period of time, and then over time, move it to the cloud provider's storage." One of the appeals of a hybrid cloud is the mix of public and private cloud that allows a user to have more flexibility and not worry about transferring all their data to a different server.

Tiering and bursting are two cloud-based data storage use cases garnering attention. When using cloud as a tier, a user is able to put data into a long-term archive and reduce maintenance costs. In terms of secondary cloud storage, tiering is an attractive cold storage option. "You don't have to maintain and repair it and do all the different things you would have to do [with an on-premises archive]," Crump noted.

Crump is most excited by cloud bursting as a way an organization can use cloud-based data storage to its advantage. "Cloud bursting is, I think, one of the best uses of the cloud because it is leveraging the cloud as a temporary thing, either for additional compute power or storage capacity," he said. One of the major concerns with using the cloud is that costs can build over time, and it can be an impractical method for long-term storage. According to Crump, cloud bursting can alleviate these concerns. "If you're going to store data in the cloud for 50 years, paying for that on a periodic basis can get pretty expensive. But if you're just going out to the cloud for a temporary expansion while you fill in your on-premises or data center location, that's a good use case."

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Transcript - Cloud-based data storage: Two ways to use the cloud

I'm Sarah Wilson, site editor with SearchCloudStorage, and joining me is George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland. George is here to talk to me about how to integrate cloud into your current environment. Hi George, thanks for being here.

George Crump: Thanks for having me.

There are a lot of enterprises today that are interested in a hybrid cloud setup. Could you explain how a hybrid cloud works?

Crump: If you're looking at hybrid cloud storage, what you're typically going to have is a storage system that's very similar to what a cloud provider uses in your data center, and you're going to keep data there for a period of time, and then over time, move it to the cloud provider's storage. Typically, that communication is going to be by either a [Simple Storage Service] S3 protocol or a [Cloud Data Management Interface] CDMI protocol, so the two storage systems interface and talk seamlessly to each other.

Another approach we're seeing pretty frequently is using the cloud as a tier. Could you explain how that works and the benefits?

Crump: So, cloud as a tier allows you to ... again, it goes to that long-term archive. That way, you don't have to power and cool the storage, maintain and repair it, and do all the different things you would have to do. So as that secondary sort of cold storage, a lot of people are attracted to that.

Could you explain what cloud bursting is, how it works and what the benefits are?

Crump: Cloud bursting is, I think, one of the best uses of the cloud because it is leveraging the cloud as a temporary thing, either for additional compute power or storage capacity. Where the cloud struggles is when you try to use it for something permanent. Like we said earlier, if you're going to store data in the cloud for 50 years, paying for that on a periodic basis can get pretty expensive. But if you're just going out to the cloud for a temporary expansion while you fill in your on-premises or data center location, that's a good use case.

Well that wraps up our video on cloud storage. Thanks for joining me again George.

Crump: Thanks for having me.

I'm Sarah Wilson and for more information on cloud, be sure to visit SearchCloudStorage.com.

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What methods do you use to access cloud storage tools you are using?
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We haven’t really had to worry about how we access cloud storage tools because we’ve had so little data in the cloud up until now. That’s changing, however, due in part to a large cloud migration we’re undertaking.
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Both options have their advantages. S3 makes tiering a good option because your data is stored across multiple devices and facilities, giving you not only 99.99% availability, but also 99.999999999% durability, which is fantastic for an archival option. S3 also supports lifecycle management, so your data can be automatically moved from S3 Standard to S3 - IA, to Glacier based on the object’s creation date.
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Those are all great points! Do you think a cloud provider needs tiering options to stay competitive?
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