Interview with Rani Osnat of CTERA

By Rani Osnat (Profile)
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Wednesday, November 7th 2012
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VSM: What would you say is the key to ensuring that the cloud drives seamless information access?

RO: True cloud is about flexibility—this means both elasticity, or the ability to grow or shrink as needed, but also transferability from one provider/vendor to another. Today, we're still in the early stages of cloud evolution and there's a lot of "as a service" solutions where the transferability is at best vague. As the technology and market mature, customers will become more aware of this and demand to know how they can transfer out of a given solution or service. The hybrid model is a big component of the answer to this. Hybrid solutions include an on-site appliance running an embedded backup application (or software running on user-supplied hardware) that provides local storage for faster restores and more efficient use of bandwidth to the cloud.

VSM: Please define what you’d consider a hybrid cloud storage solution. What are the benefits of using a hybrid model versus the traditional model?

RO: When people talk about hybrid in the context of cloud, they often refer to private or public hybrids. But there's another hybrid model which is still cloud, but a cloud/on-premises hybrid. The major benefits that come with local/cloud hybrid solutions are increased performance and cost optimization. When it’s local, data is more readily available enabling better performance and faster access to data. The benefits of a private/public cloud hybrid model are directly related to cost; a flexible cloud infrastructure reduces both CAPEX and OPEX.

VSM: What parallels do you see between the risk of BYOD to enterprises and the rising use of consumer cloud storage services?

RO: The rise of consumer cloud storages naturally brings up various risks of BYOD to enterprises. Security has been a major concern and a barrier to cloud adoption from the start. Ultimately there's no reason why a cloud solution would be any less secure than one hosted in an enterprise datacenter. IT solutions are only as secure as their weakest link – users should be aware that in the cloud this means they should verify the security measures taken at the datacenter level, by the service provider and in the underlying technology. As a cloud storage technology enabler, CTERA has architected its solution from the ground up to provide end-to-end security of the data sent to the cloud. It allows encrypting data with user-controlled keys that ensure that the service provider doesn't have access to the data.

VSM: How do those risks fuel the perception of cloud computing as an insecure alternative to traditional infrastructure/applications?

RO: Although reputable cloud providers have many failsafe protocols and built-in redundancies in their architecture, outages are possible in the datacenter itself as well as in the Internet connection between the company and the datacenter.