Convergence of the Clouds: Conscious Decisions Will Drive Hybrid, Private and Public Cloud Deployments

Data stored in the cloud continues to be plagued by numerous security-related issues, as demonstrated by the breaches of The Associated Press’s Twitter account, Adobe’s database, LinkedIn account passwords and Target’s credit card database. These issues have caused the IT industry to question how secure the cloud really is.

Enterprise end-users began to weigh the pros and cons of using a public or deploying a private cloud for their internal business needs. For some, the public cloud was chosen as an option because the data being collected and stored wasn’t critical and the cost of the storage was affordable and on-demand. For others, the private cloud, although more expensive and complex to maintain, was more suitable for highly confidential data stored in-house.

Public clouds are evolving quickly, with industry cloud players such as Amazon and Google investing heavily to create enterprise capabilities. Amazon provides the flexibility and scalability enterprises desperately need – offering one-click provisioning and an automated control plane. Unfortunately, once data is stored into these public clouds, IT loses most of its insight and control over the data. This can be a deal breaker for sensitive corporate information.

On-premise storage, on the other hand, excels in allowing IT to remain in control of its data. However, this approach comes with its own set of challenges. Legacy storage forces a rigid infrastructure that is not capable of scaling linearly to meet growing storage needs. The inflexibility of these solutions often results in a backlog of hundreds of storage provisioning requests, and if existing storage performance or capacity is outgrown, expensive forklift upgrades are often required.

Gartner has predicted that by 2017 half of all mainstream enterprises will have a hybrid cloud. If that is the case, then enterprises will need the ability to migrate data as necessary through a policy-based service platform that spans internal and external cloud resources. This hybrid approach gives IT the opportunity to route data to the proper storage location based on risk tolerance.

Emerging storage technologies, like those that can linearly scale capacity and performance, have begun to allow enterprises to deliver cloud-like services on-premise, ensuring higher levels of security and visibility. Having an appealing alternative to public cloud storage makes it easy for enterprises to decide which data is appropriate to store in the public cloud, and which should be kept behind the firewall.

Regardless of whether it’s managing a public or private cloud, keeping up with the storage demands of rapidly growing data is a challenge. Cloud service providers will need to consider modular data storage solutions that provide just-in-time scaling, which boosts operational effectiveness for dynamic, multi-workload environments experiencing rapid, unpredictable growth. Only then can service providers ensure profitability and accelerate their return on investment.