Cloud Analytics – Tapping the Value of Big Data
It’s growing every minute – the mountain of data your enterprise accumulates from every corner of business operations, whether it’s stock prices, medical tests, security-camera images, cell-phone calls, credit-card transactions, Webtrends data, or SKU scans at the checkout register. The volume of granular data is only going to grow. And with the worldwide adoption of billions of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, the world is consuming and producing exponentially more data around the clock, around the world - a curve that won’t change anytime soon, if ever.
That tidal wave has outstripped the ability of many enterprises to feasibly and cost-effectively scale-up on a never-ending basis. Today, Forrester Research estimates that the costs for all forms of data storage were 15 percent of the total IT budget in 2011. What’s the answer? How can enterprises tame this runaway beast?
For many organizations, the answer is increasingly cloud storage. Like its name implies, cloud storage is a world-class storage infrastructure managed by a dedicated third party that provides virtually limitless managed capacity for any enterprise need. Early adopters have focused their efforts and attention on basic “storage-as-a-service” initiatives that provide the ability to move non-mission-critical data to the cloud. This scalable, dynamic approach helps IT manage massive data growth more affordably and very quickly. When more storage is needed, IT can simply request/provision more on demand. But that’s only one of several ways that enterprises can capitalize on cloud storage.
Smarter Strategies for Taking Full Advantage of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage options can provide greater flexibility and choices for IT to manage a much broader range of challenges that can often extend the boundaries of the traditional storage mandate.
Backup and Archival – Perhaps the area that most acutely feels the pain of Big Data is the backup and archival process. Every day, there’s more data to replicate. Tape solutions are woefully overmatched, of course, and even disk-to-disk strategies are regularly overwhelmed, forcing companies into undesirable (and expensive, capital-intensive) “forklift upgrades” on a regular basis. Instead, cloud storage lets IT point its backups to a safe, offsite managed data center for a virtually inexhaustible pay-as-you-go supply of backup storage.
Mobile File Sharing and Endpoint Data Backups – A key driver of storage growth is related to the number of desktops and endpoint devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets), which is why many enterprises are turning to virtual desktop interfaces and “desktop-as-a-service” solutions – with mandatory use of shared and synchronized file systems. Cloud storage is an ideal complement to this approach because it enables users to reliably and easily access their data from anywhere at any time. They see their data as a shared drive or folder (as if it were local).
NAS Extension – Cloud storage services can also make the data center more compute-efficient by offering an extension to network-attached storage. Intelligent monitors can analyze data usage and push files out to the cloud that have not been used/accessed for a defined period of time (e.g. 60 days) to create intelligent tiered storage. That means the local NAS infrastructure is less burdened and operates more efficiently.