Cloud Adoption Is Not a Never-ending Story
There are soooo many good reasons to move your company’s files to the cloud. Cost reduction is the obvious one. No more hardware to manage or replace, no hardware admins to manage them. Turn your CapEx into OpEx. Let someone else worry about availability and access reliability. Make executing on your mobility strategy less of a hassle.
The cloud exists so that your storage resources can easily and elastically grow with your business needs. The requisite infrastructure-level technology is already here, and the opportunity to improve productivity while decreasing costs is too big to ignore.
But is practical implementation of a full cloud storage strategy really a pipe dream? Is it a neverending story or nightmare that businesses will get mired into?
We certainly hope not!
Instead of accepting defeat and being resigned to suboptimal solutions, there is an opportunity to attack the problems of today with solutions of today. If you’re thinking about moving your business to the cloud, please consider these points before making compromises that don’t need to be made. Go full cloud.
Don’t Settle for Hybrid Cloud
There are a lot of people pushing for Hybrid Cloud solutions these days, touting a supposedly obvious compromise… a “best of both worlds” solution (which actually just incorporates the costs of both worlds).
EMC and NetApp have certainly invested a lot into hybrid cloud solutions. A natural conclusion for on-premise providers whose turf is about to get trampled by the cloud armada. Surprisingly, you even have cloud-oriented companies like Microsoft going backwards into hybrid cloud territory. There’s a market there right now because companies feel like they cannot fully commit to the cloud.
However, many companies don’t realize they are settling for hybrid cloud only because of technological limitations that are largely going by the wayside. Much like how full electric cars will kill hybrid cars once technology develops more (e.g. longer range to relieve range anxiety, availability of charging network, etc.), the era of Hybrid Cloud has limited run. Once you have generally solved the range problem, then it’s better to do away with a car that has two powertrains — the additional crutch unnecessarily adds weight, takes up space, has more moving parts that can break, and increases engineering/manufacturing costs.
If you’re worried about security, bandwidth performance (LAN speed vs. WAN speed), or geographic data sovereignty, these problems are largely solved or mitigated enough by zero-knowledge encryption, intelligent sync solutions, and localized availability zone cloud storage. These don’t have to be reasons to compromise for normal file storage business use cases.
Stop Applying Obsolete Storage Models to Cloud Storage
Why does everything need to be on one storage endpoint? Why do people insist on looking for a holy grail of storage that may not exist?
James Casey, VP of Partner Engineering at Chef mentions that inter-clouding is something that will become more prevalent as companies multiple storage providers to meet the diverse needs of a business. This could mean that companies could “be in at least two clouds, maybe more”.
I wholeheartedly agree. Fortunately, the “scattered cloud” phenomena is a problem that can be dealt with. “One destination for everything” doesn’t have to mean one singular storage cloud. A better solution would be able to consolidate access to several clouds (much like an email client can tap into different email servers).
Yes, we should acknowledge that fragmentation is a problem that is here to stay… data originates in different places, companies acquire other companies, different sets of users have different requirements, etc. But let’s not stop there — it doesn’t have to be a roadblock.
These days, it seems as if anyone and everyone is getting hacked. You can’t trust people in your own company, employees of your storage provider, and certainly not the wild west of the internet.
Make sure that what’s in the cloud is protected. But also give deep thought into how you can protect end-user devices in case laptops, tablets, and phones get lost or stolen. What level of risk can you afford, and how much can you rely on device hardware or operating systems to protect your data?
Also, while encryption is largely the solution for your security and compliance concerns, you need an implementation that is so seamless that your users won’t get confused. Totally seamless, zero-knowledge encryption that you take for granted is the only path out of the woods. You must control your keys.
Sure, computing power will continue to progress such that some day brute-force attacking an AES-256 encryption key will become possible. (Today, you’d have to wait a very, very, very long time). But most likely the information you’re encrypting will have outlived you and its relevancy.
So Where Does This Leave Us?
Your business can go full cloud. There is a movement afoot, and the businesses that are able to adopt a cloud storage strategy effectively will be at a distinct advantage over those that can’t. Right now there are additional pain points to be solved, for sure, but you can do it if you have the right big picture view of what you need to do. And even though it’s early, the tipping point is right around the corner where everyone will be able to easily ditch their expensive private storage infrastructure.
Companies like Dropbox, Box, and Google have been trying to help businesses overcome transitional costs of getting everything into the cloud. It’s true that every step along the way, from planning your strategy to picking the right provider(s), to data migration, to roll-out, to supporting your users can be stumbling block. Storage providers are making progress and will contribute to the narrative.
My company, www.odrive.com, has been making the transition easier for consumers, solving problems that consumers and small business owners encounter in their individual journeys to the cloud. Smarter ways to sync files, zero-knowledge encryption, easy migration, consolidation of scattered files across multiple devices and clouds… do these solutions to cloud adoption issues sound familiar?
We’re laying the groundwork to provide packaged solutions for business organizations to enjoy these benefits, too, so we can add the final piece to the puzzle. We should know — we have years of prior enterprise cloud storage experience built into our DNA, so we’ve always had the end in mind.