Using cloud storage often represents the first way that most companies adopt the cloud. They leverage cloud storage to archive their data, as a backup target, share files, or for long term data retention. These approaches offer a low risk means for companies to get started in the cloud. However, with more cloud storage offerings available than ever, companies need to ask and answer more pointed questions to screen them.
50+ Cloud Storage Offerings
As recently as a few years ago, one could count on one hand the number of cloud storage offerings. Even now, companies may find themselves hard pressed to name more than five or six of them.
The truth of the matter is companies have more than 50 cloud storage offerings from which to choose. These offerings come from general purpose cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to specialized providers such as Degoo, hubiC, Jottacloud and Wasabi.
The challenge companies now face is, “How do I screen these cloud storage offerings to make the right choice for me?” Making the best selection from these multiple cloud storage offerings starts by first asking and answering basic questions about your requirements.
Seven Basic Questions
Seven basic questions you should ask and answer to screen these offerings include:
- What type or types of data will you store in their cloud? If you only have one type of data (backups, files, or photos) to store in the cloud, a specialized cloud storage provider may best meet your needs. If you have multiple types of data (archival, backups, block, file, and/or object) to store in the cloud, a general-purpose cloud storage provider may better fit your requirements.
- How much data will you store in the cloud? Storing a few GBs or even a few hundred GBs of data in the cloud may not incur significant cloud storage costs. When storing hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of storage in the cloud, a cloud offering with multiple tiers of storage and pricing may be to your advantage.
- How much time do you have to move the data to the cloud? Moving a few GBs of data to the cloud may not take very long. Moving terabytes of data (or more) may take days, weeks or even months. In these circumstances, look for cloud providers that offer tools to ingest data at your site that they can securely truck back to their site.
- How much time do you have to manage the cloud? No one likes to think about managing data in the cloud. Cloud providers count on this inaction as this is when cloud storage costs add up. If you have no plans to optimize data placement or the data management costs outweigh the benefits, identify a cloud storage provider that either does this work for you or makes its storage so simple to use you do not have to manage it.
- How often will you retrieve data from the cloud and how much will you retrieve? If you expect to retrieve a lot of data from the cloud, identify if the cloud provider charges egress (data exit) fees and how much it charges.
- What type of performance do you need? Storing data on lower cost, lower tiers of storage may sound great until you need that data. If waiting multiple days to retrieve it could impact your business, keep your data on the higher performing storage tiers.
- What type of availability do you need? Check with your cloud storage provider to verify what uptime guarantees it provides for the region where your data resides.
A Good Base Line
There are many more questions that companies can and should ask to select the right cloud storage offering for them. However, these seven basic questions should provide the base line set of information companies need to screen any cloud storage offering.