Cloud Control: Key Points to Consider When Going to the Cloud

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eric Polet

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Many of today’s organizations are considering public cloud storage options for their data, due to their low upfront cost and ease of use. Several public cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, are designed with an OpEx model that can often seem more appealing than constructing an onsite data center, because of cost. But, there are some very important things to keep in mind when “going to the cloud.”

1. Not All Clouds Are Created Equal: A growing number of companies are entering the cloud storage and service provider market today, yet most will not succeed. Over 100 cloud providers evaporated in 2016, illustrating how important it is to stick with the ones that are established. Take a look at this recent article from Network World for classic examples of cloud providers going out of business and not giving their customers enough time to retrieve their data: Cloud’s Worst-Case Scenario: What To Do If Your Provider Goes Belly Up

2. Always Keep a Local Copy: Users that keep a local copy of their data are able to easily change cloud providers. They can simply delete existing data and move to a new provider with their local copy. This eliminates the need to download data and pay the expensive costs associated with exiting the cloud. If you decide cloud isn’t the right option for you, you can easily pull out of the cloud with no cost to your organization. If your cloud evaporates, you still have your data.

Clouds often experience outages. By keeping a local copy, business is not interrupted when your cloud is out of order.

Performing large data retrievals can be costly when using the cloud. With a local copy, all large retrievals can be executed from your local hardware. This also relates to speed of access. When dealing with the cloud, there are different Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) that are available, ranging from milliseconds to hours until data is available for download. Then, you also have to download based on your network connection (different options for off-site storage are presented in the white paper Iron Mountain vs. Amazon Glacier: Total Cost Analysis For Off-Site Storage).

3. Determine a Recovery Time Objective: It is important to know how long your organization can manage without access to your cloud data before it negatively impacts operations. Understand how long it will take to recall data from the cloud under current environment. Consider, what’s your SLA? Your bandwidth/internet connection speed? How much of this bandwidth can be dedicated to restoring data from the cloud? What is the cost associated with pulling data from the cloud?

4. Look at the BIG Picture: Be aware of how much your data is growing and how long you need to keep it for. Ask yourself: How much data will your organization have in three years? How much will it cost to store? How much would it cost to retrieve?

Establishing a solid plan when deciding to transition to the cloud is essential. By understanding the costs to store, transfer, and retrieve data, organizations can protect themselves from making a costly mistake. From keeping a local copy, to laying out a detailed recovery time objective, it becomes clear that when going to the cloud, a hybrid cloud approach that combines both on and off premise storage strategies can save substantial money over the life of your organization’s data.

About the author: Eric Polet brings more than 10 years of corporate experience to his marketing position at Spectra. As the emerging markets program manager, Eric is responsible for product positioning and messaging, brand development, demand generation, sales enablement, launch management and market intelligence.

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