The Changing Cloud Storage Landscape

By CIOReview | Monday, July 18, 2016
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The last couple of years have witnessed the onslaught of remarkable changes in the cloud arena, with more companies switching to the cloud to address their complex production needs, apart from meeting the data warehousing requirements. The evolution in the cloud storage market has given a whole new set of storage applications IT teams can leverage. Cloud technology is assisting in shaping the economy and digital business journey for organizations. The scope of cloud helps firms to keep the tenure of their projects short. Moreover, computing-as-a-service strategy culminates high level of scalability, made available at attractive prices for clients. The transformation in cloud technologies and its traction can be justified by glancing at the market scenario. The market for cloud storage products in itself stands high at a whooping $18.87 billion in 2015, and is touted to escalate to an astonishing $65.41 billion by 2020 as stated in a report by MarketsandMarkets.

New cloud storage companies are surfacing in the present technological era. These companies either establish the connection of systems and applications to the cloud, or act as providers of primary cloud storage and the technologies enabling it. The growing popularity of cloud-based storage has only added more options to the expanding portfolio of existing cloud services for users.

Technologies that enable Connection to the Cloud

Without having a consistent and reliable connectivity, there is absolutely zero utility in integrating cloud services or storage to your business setup. Over, the last decade significant work has been undertaken to realize the full scope of cloud storage by introducing the most efficient and advanced connection strategy between the system and the cloud.

General-purpose gateways play a significant role in this context as they are designed with the intention of creating a faster and cost-effective access to cloud storage, simultaneously connecting users to both content and primary I/O storage. They are playing an essential part in the connection scheme, as public and private clouds continue to penetrate the business landscape.

Another such technology is cloud-based backup which allows users to store backup data in the cloud repositories. This component of cloud technology is expected to grow significantly in the years to come.  

The third segment is the technologies catering the movement of data and access to the cloud-resident content. This space has been brought to notice due to rapid expansion in use of virtual machines, applications, and storage repositories. Users can eliminate the barriers encountered over long distances or during increased latency by leveraging this detailed information.

Evolving Primary Storage space

The technologies employed to establish secure and effective connection to the cloud are very essential, but they are useless without the presence of the base technologies involved in the storing process. This cloud storage market, spanning across primary storage technologies has been deemed to undergo major transformations to keep on par with the newest storage model. The domain can be further sub-divided into two significant categories, viz. content and I/O. File technologies employed in conventional architectures to meet the content needs- usually lack the scalability and accessibility to service the content requirements in the cloud. This implies for a fact that the content will have to be stored, accessed and distributed differently than primary I/O storage. Object technologies also surface in this context, providing the necessary support required for cloud integration. The most significant attribute about cloud storage revolves around the primary I/O behind cloud infrastructures. The domain leverages an advanced array of technologies, bringing into play the intelligent block technology for flexible legacy systems.

Unified Storage – a sophisticated Cloud Storage mode

Unified storage or multiprotocol storage has always been an essential facet in the entire storage process as it assists in running and managing files and applications from a single device. The present decade shall observe the utilization of next generation fiber channel technologies. The system combines both file-based and block-based access in a single storage platform, extending support for fiber channel SAN, IP-based SAN (iSCSI), and network-attached storage (NAS). The core aspect about the technology is its ability to combine storage of file data and handling of the block-based I/O of enterprise applications. The incorporation of several protocols simplifies management of storage services for businesses seeking various modules of storage systems, making unified storage the most trusted solution offered by vendors.

How are issues pertaining to Cloud Storage being addressed?

The integration of advanced cloud storage options doesn’t necessarily imply complete realization of the services, nor does it guarantee benefits for all users. A major concern that surfaces because of the relative slower performance is the user reluctance, which can be measured from response time. The second issue lies in developing codes for applications to the representational state transfer (REST) API, in a way such that if the applications lack a native interface to cloud storage, companies won’t partake in developing it themselves.

Even though cloud storage gateways provide solutions to eradicate the same issues, a lot depends on how the data is moved to and from the cloud storage providers. This is achieved by invoking cloud gateway’s capability to act like a standard local DAS, SAN or NAS storage system, providing majority of the functions expected in primary storage. Moreover, most of the cloud storage gateway vendors allow users to utilize services rendered by any or an array of various providers.

Cloud Storage is the most reliable and efficient solution customers hunt for in order to address their data aggregation and storage requirements. This data is eventually utilized by clients to furnish useful and necessary insights. To realize the same, providers of cloud storage services have to make necessary additions and revamp their existing portfolio of services so as to match the business demand, and also increase the acceptability of this technology. With a few more years into the future, combining the advancements in cloud technologies, we will perceive cloud storage as the most dependable and coherent storage mode for widespread business use.