What Public Cloud Storage Looks Like to the Average Enterprise User

Public cloud storage adoption is accelerating but enterprises are for the most part just starting to dip their toes into the cloud storage waters – primarily storing their archival and backup data with cloud storage providers. However when enterprises small or large store their data with a public cloud storage provider, they may not even know who their public cloud storage provider is or where their data physically resides. All they know is that their portal to the cloud is almost indistinguishable from their network file server.

What DCIG has found to be true as it researches cloud storage is that there are only a few major providers of cloud storage – AT&T, Amazon S3, Nirvanix, and Microsoft Azure to name a few with a large number of emerging cloud storage providers. However what has occurred is the emergence of a large number of appliances that front end these back end storage clouds.

In many respects, these appliances are becoming the face of these public storage clouds in many organizations. Companies may care only somewhat where their archival and backup data is stored long term so long as they can access when and if they need it. What they do care about is how well the cloud storage appliance sitting in their environment works and how well it is accepted by their end users.

It is in these cloud storage appliances that organizations will find a large number of choices as a number of products have been released in the last year include the ability to migrate local storage to the cloud.

DCIG has decided that this product class is now sufficiently mature and well-defined to justify producing a new DCIG Buyer’s Guide on Enterprise Public Cloud Storage Appliances. In expectation of that release, DCIG is releasing its current working definition of an Enterprise Public Cloud Storage Appliance.

Vendors with products that meet these requirements should contact DCIG for inclusion in this forthcoming Buyer’s Guide. To be included in the new DCIG Buyer’s Guide products right now must meet the following requirements (subject to change):

  • Available as a physical appliance
  • Includes local storage that is backed by public cloud storage provider
  • Supports operational and/or recurring synchronization
  • May provide a virtual appliance
  • Supports CIFS and NFS
  • Optionally supports one or more SAN protocols
  • Sufficient information to make meaningful decisions
  • Model must ship by May 2012

Our initial canvas of vendors has yielded some impressive models. Deduplication continues to be moving towards becoming a standard feature and we expect to see a number of fully featured NAS devices that have been extended to support synchronization to the cloud.

Feature that we are also examining include the ability for the appliance to support more than one cloud storage providers so end user may choose from multiple providers according to their cost, performance and resiliency requirements.

DCIG believes cloud is here to stay. The ability to automatically archive data based on rules selected by administrators to offsite locations without hassle is a game changer for many organizations. Now that public cloud storage is gained acceptance in businesses of all sizes, DCIG expect vendors to continue to release products that easily and seamlessly move data into the cloud. By producing this Buyer’s Guide, organizations will have a new tool at their disposal to guide them as they make this choice.

Expect to see the release of the DCIG Enterprise Cloud Storage Appliance Buyer’s Guide in the summer of 2012.

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