Data management problems are growing alongside data volumes, and cloud-based storage may be an option. Many businesses have access to plenty of bandwidth so can move primary data into the cloud for backup and recovery purposes, paying a monthly fee and avoiding capex.
Cloud storage, related to the concept of storage as a service, is not new but has become something of a land grab. Just like at any new frontier, the rules of engagement may be unclear and hype may surround any opportunities therein.
Cloud storage faces a plethora of international regulatory hurdles, around corporate governance, compliance, and data privacy. And it used to be a fragmented niche market, with few nationally recognised standards.
Backing up and recovering data from any source, including the cloud, demands resilience, reliability and availability. Cloud storage relies on internet connectivity and bandwidth so still has much to prove in this respect.
In fact it is probably bandwidth that is most likely to hinder the widespread adoption of cloud storage. As data volumes grown, bandwidth issues become more critical.
UK consumers who once relied on a 28.8k modem now access pipes delivering around 5Mbps. Data growth has exploded from perhaps 100MB per user to well over a terabyte. Off-site storage for primary data in many ways is becoming less rather than more feasible.
Meanwhile, any company storing data in the cloud depends on its cloud provider for the safety and availability of its data. Addressing reliability and security concerns are paramount if companies are to trust cloud storage.
Once initial backup has been done on site, a copy can be hosted in the cloud. Technologies that support automated incremental backups are best suited since only the new data needs to be backed up in the cloud. This incremental approach saves bandwidth and time.
IT managers need to familiarise themselves with their cloud provider’s
policies and methods, and understand the consequences of a worst-case scenario.
Geoff Barrall is chief executive and founder of Data Robotics
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