Is the Cloud Storage Right for Your Business Data?

Posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008

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Of late there has been a lot of interest in the Cloud owing to the promise of

  • Cost Saving
  • Scalability
  • Availability
  • Flexibility – On Demand capacity

Further, reports suggest that spending on IT Cloud services would reach $42 Billion by 2012 and in another year i.e. by 2013 a quarter of the IT spending growth goes to cloud based services. So in 3 years from now we would see a gradual explosion in the Cloud based services and a lot of it would go to the Cloud Storage.

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Again, for Cloud storage cost is being touted as the biggest factor. This is because there would be a lot of saving in physical infrastructure, managing and monitoring. However, the critical factor apart from cost is the type of data being stored on the cloud.

Typically data can be divided into 3 categories

  • Tier 1 – Mission Critical
  • Tier 2 – Not mission critical but needs to be accessed frequently
  • Tier 3 – Not mission critical and does not need to be accessed frequently> Archival data fits into this category.

Most organizations would not keep the Tier 1 data on the cloud. This has security, imagine keeping all your credit card information on the cloud, and latency reasons. For fast access to this data NAS and SAN would still be the best.

Tier 3 is something which would readily move to the cloud. This is infact the prime candidate. This data is archived and would need to be queried upon or brought back to life very infrequently. So, why waste your resources managing this data. Throw it to the cloud.

Tier 2 data is where the decision taking is hard and probably this is where the Cloud storage service providers would make most of their transaction based money. If you put your Tier 2 data on the cloud and access it frequently then you pay for the storage as well as the bandwidth for frequent consumption. If you do an analysis and see that the frequency of accessing the data is high enough to nullify the cost advantages of keeping it on the cloud then don’t do it. Moreover if the data also has confidentiality concerns then don’t do it at all. For example I would not expect Kaiser Permanente to put all their confidential patient data on the cloud. Or would they?

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Posted in: Architecture