Cloudy Question? There Is Gravity?

November 14, 2019

Reverse course now, bosun! After all that hype, organizations are rethinking the wisdom of remote storage. InsideBigData reports, “Companies Are Bringing Data Back from the Cloud. Now They Need a Place to Put It.” They call it “cloud data repatriation.” According to tech research firm IDC, last year 80 percent of organizations they surveyed repatriated workloads, and many expect to pull half their cloud apps to private or on-premises storage in the next two years. After racing to the cloud for several years, why the sudden U-turn? Because public clouds are not all they were puffed up to be. Guest writer and storage expert Shridar Subramanian explains:

“As well as being costly to store in the cloud, it often proves both slow and costly to download data sets from the cloud when they’re needed on-prem. The cloud also has a history of being too slow and costly for the transmission of edge data, such as unstructured data produced by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This unstructured data is growing at hyper speed. Indeed, IDC predicts that the total of the world’s data will increase from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025 and that 80 percent of that data will be unstructured. Those are head-spinning numbers and companies, understandably, are struggling to keep up. … All this unstructured data presents large storage and security challenges. At first, when cloud storage rose to prominence, organizations thought the answer was to move the vast majority of their data—both structured and unstructured—to the cloud. However, these same organizations soon figured out that the cloud is not only more expensive than they thought, it is also hard to access in a timely fashion when they need specific data, due to the cloud’s inherent latency.”

Rather than abandon the cloud altogether, though, organizations are going with a hybrid approach—keeping some data and apps in the cloud and some locally. And, yes, that means figuring out where to put it all. Subramanian lists some points to consider before making the move. Storage solutions should be secure, of course, and highly scalable to keep up as data grows. This means they should have the capacity to add as many drives as needed at any moment, without downtime. Ideally, they would also include analytics to help decide which information should remain close at hand and which would be better kept in the cloud.

Cynthia Murrell, November 14, 2019

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