Don’t cloud the issue of data storage: the time to innovate is now

Martin Warren, cloud solutions manager at NetApp, tells why enterprises are adopting hybrid cloud


Data is the underlying asset of any organisation, be that proprietary or customer data. In the past decade, the rise of data in enterprises has been meteoric, leaving companies looking for ways to store and manage it effectively. One such solution is cloud storage. Regulatory roadblocks can prevent migrations to the public cloud, while investment in a private cloud can be costly, leading organisations to the hybrid cloud.

For larger enterprises, it can make business sense to host a data centre, allowing sensitive data to stay secure in one easily accessible location. Data centres are costly and only something to consider if the quantity of data warrants this.

With a private data centre, enterprises pay for a set capacity at all times, regardless of whether or not it is being fully utilised. In addition, costs are incurred at every level from the initial server infrastructure, to ongoing costs of server space, electricity and cooling, as well as employing a full-time data centre manager and security staff to ensure data remains safe day and night.

Through a hybrid cloud solution, enterprises can truly innovate, using data to react in new ways

Opting for a private cloud solution, whether hosted in a data centre or on-premise, is not entirely straightforward. While it is reliable in terms of security, it does have some of the same limitations associated with on-premise data centres. Procurement and build times can be lengthy, and there are often high capital expenditure charges, as well as ongoing operating charges.

Whereas with a hybrid solution, enterprises can retain business-critical data securely in an on-premise data centre, while storing broader company data in the public cloud. Through a hybrid cloud solution, enterprises can truly innovate, using data to react in new ways.

The hybrid cloud is also cost effective and flexible, with a “pay as you go” model. It’s akin to flicking a switch on and off in accordance with data requirements. Furthermore, the level of access provided by cloud platforms makes it an ideal solution for collaboration, sharing and other operational processes.

It’s possible to ensure that data is managed across the hybrid-cloud environment through the use of a data management platform. This enables the easy transportation of data, maximising operational efficiency and business agility, as well as reducing costs, ultimately improving business output.

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For example, by adopting an inter-connected data fabric approach, supported by companies such as NetApp, organisations can easily switch between data stored on-premise, with a service provider or through a hyperscaler, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, meaning their storage management and data protection strategy can be fine-tuned as their business evolves. Furthermore, the ability to move data between hypervisors ensures customers are not locked in by one cloud provider.

The data requirements of enterprises are continually increasing, meaning the issue of data storage and management cannot be ignored. Businesses must invest in ways to use data to their advantage. It should be a tool that streamlines the business and informs decision-making, rather than a drain on IT infrastructure. Hybrid cloud solutions are cost effective, flexible and meet the necessary security measures to comply with regulation.

For more information, visit www.netapp.com/uk/