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Ten Hot Trends in Cloud Data for 2012

Here are 10 predictions around hot trends to watch for in the cloud data space

It’s time to make a few predictions for 2012 in the cloud data space. 2011 was a year of adoption, during which many companies started to leverage the cloud, enjoying the economies of scale, security and ease in managing their growing data needs. Those successes promise even greater cloud adoption in 2012. With that in mind, here are 10  predictions for hot trends to watch for in the cloud data space:

  1. Hybrid data storage environments combining cloud storage with existing storage. For most companies, the notion of moving all of their data to the cloud is not fathomable. However, continuously expanding data storage needs are fueling a need for more capacity. What better way to address this need than with cloud storage? The benefits include access to a secure, limitless pool of storage capacity, no future need for upgrade or replacement and reduced capital expenses. Look for auto-tiering technologies to seamlessly combine hybrid cloud and on-premise environments in a way that operates with existing applications.
  2. Private cloud environments in enterprise companies. Enterprises looking to leverage the economies, efficiencies and scale of cloud providers are adopting cloud models in-house, such as OpenStack, for both compute and storage environments. These private clouds offer scale, agility and price/performance typically unmatched by traditional infrastructure solutions and can reside inside a company’s firewall. In the storage space, look for technologies that can combine existing SAN infrastructure and private cloud storage into a unified Cloud SAN.
  3. Disaster recovery to the cloud as a viable option. Traditionally, companies that need disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) have relied on dedicated replicated infrastructure at an offsite location to be able to recover from physical disaster. This means paying for idle hardware that’s waiting for a disaster. DR in the cloud, on the other hand, means not having to pay for this infrastructure except when it is needed. The tradeoff? While not necessarily a zero-downtime solution, look for cloud DR with recovery time objectives (RTOs) in a matter of hours.
  4. Disaster recovery from the cloud as a new need. What happens to business data stored by SaaS application in the case of a disaster? The truth is most SaaS providers do have a DR strategy, but many businesses will demand a recovery strategy under their control. Look for emergence of solutions that backup SaaS data either locally or to an alternate provider as an extra level of protection.
  5. Simplified onboarding of applications to the cloud. Certain business applications can move entirely to the cloud, thereby saving the administrative and maintenance headaches of their hardware/software platforms onsite. Many IT-strapped businesses can benefit from tools to make this migration viable. Look for robust tool sets that can migrate applications to a choice of cloud providers – and also bring those applications back on-premise should the need arise.
  6. Non-relational databases for big data. NoSQL databases, like Apache CouchDB, enable tremendous scalability in order to meet the needs of Terabytes and Petabytes of data accessed by millions of users. Big data will force many companies to consider these alternatives to traditional databases and cloud deployment models will simplify the roll-out. Look for vendors providing supported NoSQL solutions.
  7. Use of the cloud for analytics. Analytics tend to require a scalable compute and storage environment as well as rather expensive software. Similar to idle hardware for disaster recovery purposes, analytics for many businesses may represent a seasonal need that only runs in short bursts and may not justify purchasing a dedicated software/hardware environment. Analytic environments in the cloud can turn the expense into a “pay-per-use” bill, meeting business goals at a far lower price point.
  8. SSD tiers of storage in the cloud. Moving higher performance applications into the cloud doesn’t always guarantee that they will get the level of performance they need from their data storage. By offering high-performance tiers of storage that are SSD-based (i.e. flash), cloud providers will be able to address the needs for predictable and faster application response times.
  9. Improvements in data reduction technology. With cloud storage commanding a per GB operating expense, deduplication and compression technologies have become rather ubiqitous in minimizing costs. While some may argue the capacity optimization game has played out, there is still the challenge of capacity optimization on a more global scale across multiple tenants and a challenge for rich media content which does not fare particularly well with today’s reduction technologies. Look for the introduction of new data reduction technologies that address both needs.
  10. Cloud-envy” from cloud laggards. While many companies have already adopted the cloud and many more will adopt in 2012, others may still wait and ponder well past 2012. Regardless of which category a company falls into, the economics and efficiencies of the cloud have become irrefutable. As a result, some of the laggards will likely seek ways to leverage cloud methodologies that improve IT efficiency on-premise. Undoubtedly, some will fall prey to cloudwashing by purchasing traditional IT infrastructure named “cloud” in an attempt to satisfy their “cloud-envy.”

Bottom line? Cloud deployments are becoming simpler and more secure and the economics continue to improve. Which of these trends will your business follow in 2012?

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More Stories By Nicos Vekiarides

Nicos Vekiarides is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of TwinStrata. He has spent over 20 years in enterprise data storage, both as a business manager and as an entrepreneur and founder in startup companies.

Prior to TwinStrata, he served as VP of Product Strategy and Technology at Incipient, Inc., where he helped deliver the industry's first storage virtualization solution embedded in a switch. Prior to Incipient, he was General Manager of the storage virtualization business at Hewlett-Packard. Vekiarides came to HP with the acquisition of StorageApps where he was the founding VP of Engineering. At StorageApps, he built a team that brought to market the industry's first storage virtualization appliance. Prior to StorageApps, he spent a number of years in the data storage industry working at Sun Microsystems and Encore Computer. At Encore, he architected and delivered Encore Computer's SP data replication products that were a key factor in the acquisition of Encore's storage division by Sun Microsystems.

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