Here’s something we haven’t really talked about before—cloud storage. If it’s not a topic you are familiar with, you might want to pay attention because like it or not it’s a growing trend.
According to a recent Markets and Markets cloud storage report, by 2020 alone the global cloud storage market is expected to top 65.41 billion; up from 18.87 billion in 2015. The reasons behind this increased adoption are many; however, a significant portion of the increase will come from the healthcare and life sciences industry, as well as large enterprises, and be driven by things like Big Data and increasing adoption of cloud storage gateways. In the enterprise, cloud storage is primarily being used for back up and as primary storage for production data, with collaboration and/or file sharing, archiving and disaster recovery not falling far behind.
What is cloud storage? To answer that, let’s take a step back for a second. Anyone with a computer today understands what storage means. Generally it’s because there never seems to be enough of it. Some computer users try and get around this dilemma by purchasing a computer with a larger hard drive, while others purchase an external disk drive and download files to it to make space for more information on their computer. As a last resort, some just delete files. Cloud storage provides an alternate answer to this dilemma.
The cloud storage model allows a computer user or organization’s data to be maintained, managed and backed up remotely. That data is made available to the user or users via a network; typically the Internet. Cloud storage comes in three variants: public, private or hybrid. Public cloud storage is essentially a service provided by a cloud service provider, whereby data is stored on their servers and it becomes their job to make sure that data is safe and always accessible by you or your organization. Private or internal cloud storage runs on dedicated infrastructure in the data center. It offers the same capabilities as public cloud storage, but with limited scalability and greater security and performance.
Hybrid cloud storage comprises both the public and private cloud storage options, ideally acting homogeneously, and is often implemented, according to TechTarget, “using proprietary commercial storage software, by using a cloud storage appliance that serves as a gateway between on-premise and public cloud storage, or by using an application program interface (API) to access the cloud storage.” Hybrid cloud storage is scalable, offers excellent security, and has good performance and reliability. It’s a more expensive option than public cloud storage, but less expensive than private cloud storage.
Regardless of why organizations and others are using cloud storage or even which cloud storage solution they use, the message here is clear. A lot of people either are, or soon will be, using it and so should you. Here’s three key reasons why.
- Flexibility. Compared to traditional data storage, a cloud storage system gives you access to stored data from any location where internet access is available, all the time. And, access to that data can be given to virtually anyone deemed appropriate. This convenience makes collaboration not only possible, but much easier.
- Backup. Some cloud solution services focus solely on being used for backing up data and offer special features to support that function. However, virtually any cloud storage solution—because it saves data in the cloud (e.g., someone else’s server)—can function as a backup when failure occurs.
- Cost Effectiveness. The price for public and hybrid cloud storage (the public portion) depends in part on the amount of storage needed, as well as whether or not advanced features are required, such as added security or customer support. Since you only pay for what you need, it’s much more cost effective than say private cloud storage. Also, many cloud storage service providers offer a free version of their storage services; albeit with some limitations usually pertaining to the storage amount or file size. And, when you chose public cloud storage on its own, or as part of a hybrid cloud storage solution, you save cost by not having to buy, maintain and continually refresh storage hardware.
Again, the important thing to remember here is that while these benefits are enviable, which cloud storage solution works best for you will depend on your specific needs, for example, what type of data you will be storing and the level of security you will need. For more information on cloud storage, check out a free online copy of Cloud Storage for Dummies. For specific information on hybrid cloud storage and how to deploy it, go here. In the meantime, if you’re someone using or implementing cloud storage, particularly hybrid cloud storage, drop me a line with your thoughts at [email protected]. And don’t forget to check back here each week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other important IT-related topics.
This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.
Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.