Compare cloud storage and backup solutions with three key factors

This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of reviews written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, Scale Chief Product Officer Paul Speciale offers key factors for comparing cloud storage and backup solutions when evaluating vendors.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, adoption of cloud services continues to increase, driven by accelerating digital transformation, remote working, and demand for new services. IDC Forecast that “whole cloud” spending – which includes shared (public cloud) and dedicated (private) cloud services – will exceed $1.3 trillion by 2025 while maintaining a compound annual growth rate of 16, 9%.

This massive growth has another important cause: big data and its needs. The relentless deluge that is Big Data requires new data storage and management solutions to scale, protect, ensure availability, simplify management, and reduce the cost of delivering that data to the business. As businesses have become increasingly dependent on cloud services, cloud storage is recognized as important for high-value data assets.

Executives should focus on three areas of assessment to help them determine the type of cloud storage and backup solution that best suits their unique business needs and requirements: application support, data lock in the cloud, speed and cost of access.

It is also important to note that the public cloud is not the only option. Enterprises should also consider on-premises “private clouds”. Private clouds offer many benefits in terms of localized control and access performance for applications that can also run on-premises, and many of today’s leading backup management solutions also offer the flexibility to be deployed in these environments.

Cloud storage and app support

For most companies, their business applications and data are mission critical. There has been a growing number of independent software vendors in areas such as data backup, collaboration, big data analytics, and even in industry-specific verticals such as healthcare that are adopting now cloud storage, including those who were previously wary of the cloud because of security. concerns.

A change is currently underway in the application development section of the cloud technology stack. Traditional (monolithic) enterprise applications are being replaced by more modular and agile microservices and cloud applications, deployed in containers and on Kubernetes. Traditional applications are designed for static storage systems, block arrays, and fixed file system mount points accessible within local proximity and data center latencies.

In contrast, the advantage of cloud-based applications is that they can run anywhere and anytime, and they benefit from a stateless storage architecture based on RESTful protocols over the Internet. This architecture accesses the cloud and object stores that host unstructured data as objects, consisting of data attributes and metadata. Organizations should carefully consider their applications based on how efficiently they can be deployed flexibly, in the cloud or on bare metal servers, and also their ability to integrate with cloud storage services.

Don’t get locked in with cloud storage

Businesses rightly worry about dependence on suppliers. The number of apps supporting the most popular cloud services has grown as the popularity of cloud storage has grown. It’s best to look for apps that have adopted a multi-cloud data strategy to ensure freedom is maintained. There are now multi-cloud data management solutions that can separate applications from specific cloud storage services so customers can choose to avoid dependency on one cloud provider.

This is another area where it may make sense to consider a private cloud instead. An on-premises private cloud storage solution can provide better management control and at a lower cost. And that brings us to the next part.

Performance and price are crucial

Businesses need to think about the main components of data access to cloud services:

speed and cost. When it comes to speed, it’s essential to understand the service level agreements (SLAs) of cloud storage services. Usually, the lower the cost of storage, the more flexible the storage service can be on its access speed promises. This is especially true for very low-cost cloud archive storage, where the service level agreement (SLA) for data access is measured in hours.

When it comes to the cost of cloud storage, the services not only include the amount of data stored in the cloud (capacity pricing), but also the truly hidden charges for accessing the data. Most cloud services do not charge for writing data “into” the cloud, but charge significant fees for reading data “out” of the cloud. These “data egress” charges can often add significantly to monthly cloud storage costs.

Due Diligence Required

Businesses today must find a way to manage the explosive growth of petabytes of data and beyond. The task at hand is to solve large-scale data storage and management problems. Traditional network attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SAN) solutions were not designed with this level of scale in mind, nor designed for the era of cloud and round-the-clock operations worldwide.

Organizations should carefully consider the above three criteria when considering options for cloud storage and backup solutions. Providers that may seem like a good match at first glance become less appealing as you discover they lack integration options and application flexibility. Or maybe they require you to be locked into their services alone. Or their SLAs don’t guarantee the speed you need. Maybe their fee structure looks good until you factor in hidden data egress fees. Due diligence is required to find the cloud storage and backup solutions that will best meet your organization’s unique needs.

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