The Cloudification of Storage – where speed, agility and cost matter

The concepts of Cloud computing have been around in various guises for many years, but during the last 18 months or so we have seen cloud adoption in the market really ramping up, particularly as enterprises are starting to realize the benefits of getting the ‘best of both worlds’ through the combination of private and public clouds generally known as Hybrid Cloud. Challenging economic times, the need do more with less and deliver value to the business more quickly have further accelerated the inexorable shift of IT to the cloud. But, like most things in life there can be complications around getting everything to work without introducing additional complexity and risk.

 

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This is where a converged infrastructure solution such as FlexPod can help in terms of tying everything together in a pre-configured, validated and proven solution which combines compute, networking and storage into a single system. Such an integrated infrastructure provides the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency and agility of data center infrastructure, while reducing deployment risks and thus accelerating the so called ‘time to value’ back to the business. FlexPod was introduced to the market some 3+ years ago and at that time was more about providing traditional on-premise solutions, but as the cloud has developed it has proved itself to be an essential component of both private and public cloud environments. Feedback from customers (end-users and cloud service providers) has demonstrated immediate benefits such as:

 

  • Data deduplication saved up to 35% of the available storage capacity
  • A ten-fold improvement in storage I/O along with a 8-fold improvement in network throughput resulting in minimal application latency
  • Virtualized common business applications, such as eMail and business analytics completed much faster

Technical advances in storage technology, such as ‘flash’ (Solid State Storage) storage can also provide massive improvements in speed, but just like choosing which cloud environment to go for, the choice comes down what workloads need to be achieved and at what cost – but this a subject all of its own and for another time …

Cloud world illustration

Switching gears again back to cloud, the benefits discussed can be realized whether you are running a private, public or hybrid cloud deployment. When it comes to public or hybrid cloud deployments, the extensive ecosystem of Service Provider partners built on storage infrastructure and storage management solutions from long-time storage industry experts; NetApp can be of enormous benefit in providing a myriad of different services with the freedom to switch/add services or Service Providers as business situations or technology inevitably change over time.

 

Compute tends to be pretty straight forward in that it can be added or reduced relatively easily. Data on the other hand is a lot more challenging in that it has physical mass and is therefore difficult to move from location to location and is often bound by compliancy and data sovereignty laws.

 

Which is why, as the following diagram illustrates it’s important to choose a storage/service provider that offers complete data portability between the data center and multiple cloud environments.

 

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So, whether you are at the start of your cloud journey or further down the track make sure that you take into account how well integrated your chosen solution is between the compute, network and storage and most importantly consider how easy and quickly it would be to move or get to your data back when you need it.

 

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For NetApp Partners, or end-user customers who are lucky enough to be attending NetApp Insight, EMEA next week in Berlin, there will be lots of sessions, training and information available across the entire portfolio, including cloud. In addition, look out for updates provided through the website and via email.

In the meantime, for more information please see links below:

 

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Martin Warren: Twitter: @MartinWarren20