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Five Questions to Ask Before Moving Your Data into the Cloud

No doubt, the world of cloud storage has evolved over the past several months

No doubt, the world of cloud storage has evolved over the past several months in terms of broader interoperability, increased features and functionality as well as lower overall costs. Whereas the questions posed about cloud storage used to center on integration with (or in place of) existing storage infrastructure, these questions have been answered by countless successful deployments using cloud-integrated storage. In their place are far more sophisticated inquiries, indicating a broader familiarity with both the benefits and concerns of storing corporate data in the cloud.cloud_questions

So what are these new questions?

Can I maintain my existing security policies and corporate governance?
Whether it’s rogue consumer-level apps or business-level solutions lacking well thought out security policies, a new cloud storage solution should not alter or compromise security policies. More than just encryption, key management is a critical aspect of storing data in the cloud so that it is free from all prying eyes (even those of your provider). Solutions with sophisticated key management where the keys can only be accessed by the data owner can be even more secure than traditional storage.

Will my data be trapped?
This question is less about an organization changing its mind about cloud storage and more about keeping options open, such as the ability to change cloud providers based on price, performance, SLA, better location transparency or even a potential disaster situation.

Will it perform?
The answer to this question often goes beyond the staged IOPS benchmark tests that measure best case access times for locally cached data – having fast cache access is often tempered by real world requirements. Instead the question often involves ingest rates to the cloud and efficiency of data transfers. More realistically organizations need to know what applications are supported and if multiple applications can play well together on the same solution. Look for sophisticated caching schemes that can support multiple concurrent applications and the ability to decouple them based on differing performance needs.

What about data availability and durability?
While many cloud providers offer the data durability of triple data center storage and multiple copies along with SLAs such as three or more “9′s”, this does not help if your cloud-integrated storage tiers portion of your data only locally on a storage appliance. To recognize the SLA, all data must be either stored or copied to the cloud. Better cloud-integrated solutions store all data in the cloud with the option of keeping hot data in a local cache to improve performance.

How does it map to my future plans?
What happens to a cloud storage solution when an organization moves its IT entirely into the cloud? Is the investment in cloud-integrated storage lost? With a true software-defined solution, it never matters whether your primary infrastructure resides locally or in the cloud.

While some organizations have adopted applications to use cloud storage’s native object-based interfaces directly, many others have settled on cloud-integrated storage as a better solution that maintains integration and functionality of existing SAN and NAS storage systems. In summary, the product and viability have improved and the questions have gotten better.

The bigger question is how will these questions change a year from now?

The post Five questions to ask before moving your data into the cloud (2014 edition) appeared first on TwinStrata.

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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.