Cloud Storage: An Attractive Alternative

The confluence of the business and operational realities described above, the explosive
growth of enterprise data, and the advent of advanced storage and networking
technologies has given rise to a class of cloud-based IT delivery alternatives.

Advancements being made within the datacenter with respect to consolidation,
virtualization, and improvements in management, utilization, and efficiency are
creating the early stages of such “private” cloud offerings designed to provide a more
holistic dynamic environment that can adapt to changing business needs.

Public cloud offerings represent an extension of and complement to the private,
internal cloud that is evolving within the datacenter. These offerings represent a set of
alternatives that IT organizations can leverage to address not only operational
pressures such as offloading certain provisioning, reporting, disaster recovery, or
administrative processes but also business pressures such as addressing reductions
in capital spending and developing more predictable operational expenditure.

IDC predicts the future of public cloud services to be very strong, with the market
opportunity growing from $16.5 billion in 2009 to $55.5 billion in 2014. Today, public
cloud services consist largely of software as a service (SaaS), with platform as a
service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) growing with respect to
customer interest and adoption. Figure 1 shows the IDC forecast for worldwide public
cloud services.


Within the public cloud services offerings, elements of infrastructure such as compute
and storage are anticipated to be among the largest growth areas. Specifically, the use
of storage in the cloud, fueled by data protection services such as online backup and
recovery, will continue to garner a great amount of interest and continued adoption. IDC
expects the cloud-based backup and recovery opportunity that is already well under
way to continue growing dramatically from $724 million in 2009 to $2.5 billion in 2014.

Additional IDC research suggests that IT organizations are finding backup and
recovery to be among the most prevalent storage functions they would consider using
in the public cloud. Figure 2 shows the survey results of 300 enterprise organizations
investigating the use of or currently implementing some type of storage in the cloud,
with backup and recovery leading among these use cases.


The concerns around maintaining control are intensified when organizations consider
moving to a public cloud model for portions of IT delivery, including specific applications
or workloads such as backup. Figure 3 shows the top challenges perceived by end
users when they are considering the use of cloud-based backup and recovery.



The transformation to the cloud delivery model for portions of IT, such as backup and
recovery, offers tremendous promise for many enterprise organizations. However,
this transformation will not come without thoughtful consideration, planning, and
preparation. Along the path toward making cloud a practical part of an IT strategy,
organizations must keep in mind the following:

  • Cloud will not be appropriate for all applications in all datacenters or all locations.
    Indeed, cloud will make sense for newer, often start-up, network-centric
    organizations or for business units within larger organizations focused on large
    content repositories (such as media/entertainment). However, within the broader
    enterprise datacenter operations, cloud will be adopted in a piecemeal fashion.
    Data protection services such as cloud-based backup and recovery are an
    appropriate beginning, and end users and technology suppliers will benefit from
    not biting off more than they can chew.
  • Understanding how and where cloud fits into the overall IT environment will be
    extremely important. Given the options and permutations among public, private,
    virtual private, and hybrid cloud and the choices among location, operating, and
    access considerations, end users could find themselves bewildered over time. It
    will behoove organizations and solutions providers to engage with professional
    services to help end users navigate through this transformation.
  • Over time, cloud will impact the way IT departments are organized.
    Organizations will coalesce around the broad categories of facilities management
    (running the datacenter), services management (orchestrating SLAs and the use
    of cloud services), and access management (controlling who uses the cloud
    among a growing set of diverse users). Given this, end users will need to adjust
    purchasing and management environments, while providers will need to adjust
    go-to-market and sales strategies.
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