Zadara Blog

News, information, opinion and commentary on issues affecting enterprise data storage and management.

Bring Cold Object Storage to Your Private Cloud

In today’s computing environment, more and more companies are beginning to work with massive datasets, ranging into the hundreds of petabytes and beyond. Whether it’s big data analytics, high-definition video, or internet-of-things applications, the necessity for companies to handle large amounts of data in their daily operations continues to grow.

Historically, enterprises have managed their data as a hierarchy of files. But this approach is simply inadequate for efficiently handling the huge datasets that are becoming more and more common today. For example, public cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, that must service many thousands of users simultaneously, would quickly become intolerably unresponsive if every user data request meant having to traverse the folders and subfolders of multiple directory trees to find and collect the information needed for a response.

That’s why modern public cloud platforms, and other users of big data, use object storage in place of older file systems. And as the use of private clouds grows, they too are employing object storage to meet the challenges of efficiently handling large amounts of data.

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What Is Object Storage?

With object storage, there is no directory tree or folders. Instead, there is a flat global namespace that allows each unit of stored data, called an object, to be directly addressed.

Each object contains not only data, but also metadata that describes the data, and a global ID number that uniquely identifies that object. This allows every object in the storage system, no matter where it might be physically stored, to be quickly retrieved simply by providing its unique identifier.

Why Object Storage is Well Suited To Private Clouds

When it comes to handling massive datasets in a cloud environment, object storage has a number of unique advantages. Let’s take a look at some of these:

  • It’s infinitely scalable. Because of its flat namespace, an object storage system can theoretically be scaled without limitation simply by adding objects, each with its own unique ID.
  • Metadata makes searching easy. The metadata that accompanies each object provides critical information about the object’s data, making it easy to search for and retrieve needed data quickly and efficiently without having to analyze the data itself.
  • It’s highly robust and reliable. The VPSA Object Storage differs from a traditional RAID redundant storage using a distributed “Ring” topology policy under the hood.  Zadara Object store allows for a 2-way or 3-way replication as options which the customers can choose at creation time. By the use of erasure coding (instead of RAID) to achieve continuous and efficient replication of data across multiple nodes, an object storage system automatically backs data up, and can quickly rebuild data that is destroyed or corrupted. Nodes can be added or removed at will, and the system uses Swift’s underlying Ring replication to ensure that new objects are incorporated, or removed ones are rebuilt, automatically and transparently.
  • It simplifies storage management. The metadata of an object can contain as much (or as little) information about the data as desired. For example, it could specify where the object is to be stored, which applications will use it, the date when it should be deleted, or what level of data security is required. Having this degree of detail available for every object allows much of the data management task to be automated in software.
  • It lowers costs. Object storage systems don’t require expensive specialized storage appliances, but are designed for use with low-cost commodity disk drives.

storage arrays in cloud

Zadara VPSA Object Storage

Zadara offers an object storage solution that incorporates all the advantages discussed above, and then some. VPSA Object Storage is specifically designed for use with private as well as public clouds. It is especially suited to storing relatively static data such as big data or multimedia files, or for archiving data of any type. VPSA Object Storage provides anytime, anywhere, any-device remote access (with appropriate access controls) via HTTP.

The VPSA Object Storage solution, which is Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift compatible, features frequent, incremental, snapshot-based, automatic data backup to object-based storage, eliminating the need to have separate backup software running on the host.

If you would like to explore how Zadara VPSA Object Storage can help boost your company’s private cloud, please contact us.

October 10, 2017

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Practical Benefits Of A Hybrid Cloud Strategy

As more and more companies move to the cloud, one of the first questions they have to answer is which cloud model best fits their needs: public, private, or hybrid. Many are choosing the hybrid model as their best option.

The term “hybrid cloud” simply refers to an operational environment that includes both private and public cloud platforms. It has become an attractive model for many enterprises because it allows users to take advantage of the cost and functionality advantages of the public cloud, while also gaining the flexibility and control a private cloud provides.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the unique benefits of a hybrid cloud strategy.

Flexibility to Determine Optimal Placement of Workloads

With a hybrid cloud, administrators can decide where to place each workload to maximize efficiency and minimize costs.

The distinctive characteristic of the public cloud is its ability to provide IT services on demand without requiring up-front capital investments for hardware and infrastructure. With its XaaS (“Whatever you need”-as-a-Service) model, public cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), have become excellent vehicles for quickly deploying common applications that many companies depend on.

Whether it’s a CRM (customer relationship management) or ERM (enterprise resource management) application, or perhaps a document management environment such as Office 365, companies can institute such workloads on a public cloud platform quickly and cost-effectively.

Yet many organizations also have workloads that are better served in an on-premises environment than in the public cloud. For example, workloads that require very high levels of I/O responsiveness, such as big data analytics, may be affected by public cloud latency issues that could degrade system performance to unacceptable levels. By housing such workloads in a company’s on-premises private cloud, where storage and servers can be kept in close physical proximity to one another, latency effects can be minimized.

Control of Data and Applications

The public cloud is a multi-tenant environment in which resources are shared among a number of customers. Many companies, concerned about the possibility of their workloads somehow being affected by the activities of other users, prefer to keep their mission-critical applications at home in a private cloud, under their direct control, while offloading less critical workloads to the public cloud.

Data Placement to Meet Security Requirements

Data security keys

Data security is the number one reason for the use of private clouds. Although public cloud platforms can now provide very high levels of data protection, many organizations believe that their most sensitive data is less vulnerable when it is kept at home behind their own firewall. This is particularly true for companies in industries, such as healthcare or banking, that are subject to regulatory compliance mandates that specify how customer information must be kept secure.

On the other hand, less sensitive data that becomes inactive or infrequently used can be moved to public cloud storage to take advantage of lower costs and greater scalability.

Speed of Testing and Deploying New Applications

Many companies use both public and private clouds in the testing and deployment of new applications. The design parameters of new apps can be shaped, refined, and thoroughly tested using a public cloud PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) offering. Because PaaS resources are virtualized, developers can call them in as needed without having to spend capital funds to purchase hardware. Then, once development and testing are complete, the application can be deployed to a public or private cloud for production.

Spillover of Non-Critical Data to the Public Cloud

keyboard in clouds

Many hybrid cloud implementations are specifically designed to allow seamless failover to the public cloud should the operations of an organization’s private cloud be disrupted for any reason. This is especially true in the area of data backup/restore and disaster recovery. Once the emergency has passed, operations can be returned to the private cloud environment, often without users ever being aware that the failure occurred.

This is also the idea behind “cloud bursting,” which is instituted when surges in demand outpace the capacity of a private cloud. Whether it’s pre-planned, perhaps in anticipation of seasonal spikes in traffic, or is the entirely unexpected result of some news event that suddenly drives increased traffic to a company’s website, non-sensitive data can be temporarily spilled over into the public cloud so that operations can continue without disruption.

The Zadara Hybrid Cloud Storage Solution

The Zadara Storage Cloud has proven to be a highly effective storage solution for hybrid cloud implementations. Zadara VPSA Storage Arrays are connected to major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP. They can also be housed on customer premises as the storage component of a private cloud. With their remote replication and mirroring capabilities, these devices can transparently transfer stored data between clouds to facilitate failover, spillover, backup/restore, and disaster recovery.

Zadara VPSA Storage Arrays are provided on a storage-as-a-service (STaaS) basis. No matter how many may be installed on site, customers pay only a monthly fee for just the amount of storage they actually use during the billing period.

If you’d like to explore how Zadara Storage can assist your company in developing a cost-effective hybrid cloud implementation, please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper.

September 26, 2017

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How MSPs Can Help Their Customers Migrate to the Cloud

Businesses are moving to the cloud at an accelerating pace. A recent report from 451 Research indicates that by 2018, 60 percent of all enterprise workloads are expected to be based in the cloud. Yet many companies are still hesitating – not because they doubt the value of the cloud to their businesses, but because they recognize that moving their existing workloads to an entirely new platform is not a trivial task.

That trepidation represents an opportunity for managed services providers. A recent study on enterprise digital transformation conducted by 451 Research found that 49 percent of respondents say their organizations plan to call upon the assistance of an IT services partner as they evolve their IT operations. Many MSPs have built strong relationships with their customers by providing sound strategic guidance and operational excellence in implementing, managing, and supporting the customer’s IT infrastructure in a datacenter environment. Now, as customers face the need to move into the cloud, it would be natural for them to continue to rely on the partner on whom they already depend if that MSP has the requisite skills.

What Customers Need From Their MSPs

According to Chad Bockius, CEO of CopperEgg, “The biggest issue for organizations moving to the cloud is fear of the unknown.”

The first thing many customers will need from their MSP partner is proactive assistance in developing a roadmap for the transformation of the customer’s IT infrastructure from its datacenter-bound past to a cloud-centered future.

working together at desk

MSPs will need to be able to provide services such as the following:

  • Identify how migration to the cloud fits into the customer’s strategic business plan.
  • Analyze the benefits and costs (both operational and financial) of moving to the cloud.
  • Audit current IT operations to determine which workloads and applications are good candidates for migration to the cloud, and which should, at least in the beginning, remain on site. Some workloads should not be migrated for data security, regulatory compliance, or performance reasons. Some legacy applications might need to be extensively rewritten to make them suitable for implementation in a cloud environment. The audit should surface such issues and make recommendations concerning how each should be handled.
  • Identify the cloud-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), STaaS (Storage-as-a-Service), or IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) offerings that are available to fulfill the requirements of current and future customer workloads.
  • Determine the mix of public and private cloud platforms that can best serve the customer’s specific needs.
  • Lay out a detailed migration plan that ensures minimal downtime and maximum data security.

How MSPs Can Position Themselves to Provide Cloud Migration Services

For many traditional MSPs, the list of services they’ll be called on to provide in helping customers migrate to the cloud can seem overwhelming. In fact, that fear of the unknown Chad Bockius speaks of often applies as much to MSPs as to their customers. Managed service providers usually have a good understanding of their customers’ current operations, but may lack in-depth experience with the various cloud platforms.

For such MSPs an attempt to develop, on their own, the levels of the experience and expertise required to successfully navigate the complexities of cloud migration and implementation would probably be a losing proposition. But the good news is that it’s not necessary. For every facet of a cloud migration and implementation project, capable third party providers are available who will gladly add their specialized expertise to the effort. The most important contribution of an MSP may not be as the direct implementer of every part of the cloud strategy, but as an integrator the customer can trust to reliably orchestrate the efforts of a team of partners.


chalkboard writing about partner

A good example of an expert partner is STaaS provider Zadara Storage. Its VPSA Storage Array technology is already installed in the facilities of major cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and more. When these devices are also installed in customer data centers, the usually complex and time-consuming process of migrating applications and data to the cloud can be made seamless and non-disruptive.

If you would like to know more about how partnering with Zadara can help you develop and implement a comprehensive plan for migrating your customers to the cloud, please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper.

August 30, 2017

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How MSPs Can Offer Managed Private Clouds To Customers

MSPs have built their businesses on offering a suite of standard IT services to their customers. But now many of those customers have begun migrating to the cloud, and taking advantage of the unique services the cloud model offers. That should be a warning flag for traditional MSPs. With much of their customer base moving to the cloud, those MSPs that don’t offer their own set of cloud-based services in a managed private cloud risk being left behind.

Still, although companies are moving to the cloud in large numbers, many are not yet ready to totally commit their applications and data to public cloud platforms. Some are concerned about the security of their data in a multi-tenant environment. Others have performance requirements that, due to inherent latency effects, the public cloud has difficulty meeting. Whatever the cause may be, these companies desire to keep at least a portion of their workloads under their direct control.

Yet, the benefits of the cloud model are too compelling to forego. That’s what is leading a growing number of companies to implement private clouds, which can provide most of the benefits of the cloud model in an exclusive, single-tenant environment.

However, managing a sophisticated cloud platform is not a trivial task. Doing so requires a level of expertise that many companies lack. And that’s where opportunity lies for forward-looking MSPs.

Most companies contemplating use of a private cloud simply lack the internal resources necessary to set up, manage, and support an in-house cloud environment. MSPs that can supply that kind of expertise and take the cloud management load off their customers’ backs can carve out an important and secure role for themselves. In other words, MSPs that offer their customers managed private clouds can keep themselves on track to survive and even thrive as the corporate IT environment becomes more and more cloud-centric.

What Is a Managed Private Cloud?

A managed private cloud is, first of all, a private cloud – that is, a fully functional cloud platform that is implemented in a completely private environment with a single tenant rather than the multiple tenants that characterize the public cloud. Although they are entirely dedicated to a single customer, these clouds are managed by third parties, and their physical resources, such as servers, storage, and networking devices, may reside either on the customer’s premises, or in the facilities of the cloud manager.

How MSPs Can Implement Managed Private Clouds

A cloud is really just a wide array of computing services delivered to customers through internet connections. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines it this way:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud services are made available through what is called a “stack,” which is simply a broad range of resources that are conceptually built on top of one another.

managed private cloud data storage

The capabilities of a cloud platform are defined by its stack. In fact, a cloud’s stack is often referred to as its operating system. That’s the way the OpenStack Foundation views its own free offering, which is probably the stack most widely used to implement private clouds today:

“OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.”

OpenStack is one of several open source products available to MSPs for building managed private clouds for their customers. Others include CloudStack, Eucalyptus, and OpenNebula. In addition, some of the major public clouds are beginning to make their proprietary stacks available to private cloud builders. For example, Microsoft is offering its Azure Stack, providing access to the same APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and tool sets that characterize the Azure public cloud.

Because these stacks and their APIs are well documented, MSPs that desire to do so should be able to develop in-depth familiarity with one or more of these offerings. By combining that expertise with their traditional strengths in areas such as 24/7/365 monitoring and support, and enterprise-level backup/restore/disaster recovery, MSPs will be well positioned to provide critically important services for customers who need a managed private cloud.

MSPs Should Work With Knowledgeable Partners

chalkboard writing about partner

One way for an MSP to reduce the level of cloud-specific knowledge required of its own staff is to work with partners that already possess that kind of expertise. For example, Zadara Storage is well familiar with the intricacies of both public and private clouds. Its VPSA Storage Arrays are already installed in the facilities of major public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), among others. The same technology is available for use with on-premises private clouds at customer sites.

When its VPSA Storage Arrays are used in private clouds, Zadara takes on the responsibility to remotely operate, monitor, maintain, and upgrade storage hardware and software as necessary. By working with a partner such as Zadara, an MSP can substantially reduce the amount of time and dedicated expert staff required to support its customers, while still providing the highest levels of service.

If you’d like to know more about how Zadara can help you provide managed private clouds to your customers, please download the ‘Zadara Storage Cloud’ whitepaper.

August 22, 2017

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Debunking Myths About Switching From Traditional Storage To Storage-as-a-Service

With the explosive growth in the amount of information companies must handle today, traditional data storage solutions are being stretched beyond the breaking point. Recognizing that adding the hardware and software resources required to keep up with exponential information growth is becoming prohibitively expensive, many IT managers are seriously considering Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) as an alternative.

As the name implies, STaaS users don’t buy storage, but rather leverage storage services. STaaS vendors such as Zadara Storage, provide customers with access to whatever amount of storage they need for a monthly fee that is based on their consumption. Because this approach employs Operating Expense (OpEx) spending rather than up-front Capital Expense (CapEx) expenditures, overall costs are substantially reduced. Other benefits of the STaaS model include elastic scaling and easy provisioning, leading to greatly enhanced flexibility.

Still, some IT leaders remain skeptical that the STaaS model can really work for them. One reason for that skepticism is the assumption that STaaS only applies to the public cloud. That’s not necessarily the case. But a great deal of the resistance to adopting STaaS is based on what are seen as the shortcomings inherent in the cloud computing-paradigm. So, let’s look at some widely believed myths concerning cloud storage.

Myth 1: The Cloud Is Less Secure

The number one question many IT executives have about cloud data storage is whether their information will remain secure. The concern, of course, is that data stored in the cloud could be more vulnerable than if it is kept safely on site and behind the organization’s own firewall. Actually, the opposite may well be true.

According to the Alert Logic 2012 State of Cloud Security Report, on-premises facilities are subjected to intrusion attempts at a rate that is more than twice that experienced by cloud service providers. As far as potential intruders are concerned, the issue is not so much where data is housed, as how well it is protected. And that’s where a first class STaaS vendor actually has an advantage.

Because ensuring the security of the data entrusted to them is a fundamental requirement of their business model, STasS vendors  focus on state-of-the-art data protection processes and technologies to an extent that few of their customers could achieve on their own. For example, many organizations don’t encrypt their locally stored data. But a good STaaS vendor will not only store their customers’ information in encrypted form but can also work with the customer to ensure that a second level of encryption is applied when the data is in transit to and from the storage provider’s facilities.

For all but the largest and most technically sophisticated enterprises, a first class STaaS vendor will actually provide a greater level of protection for a customers’ data than they could achieve on their own.

Myth 2: Because of Multi-Tenancy, a Customer’s Data Could Be Exposed To Other Customers

Cloud storage providers can offer lower prices for their storage because they achieve economies-of-scale by hosting the data of many customers who share a common pool of physical storage resources. Managers considering STaaS sometimes fear that their data could be inadvertently or deliberately accessed by other customers. Another concern is that the unpredictable activities of other tenants could adversely affect storage access performance.

Even in a multi-tenant environment, a good STaaS provider will employ sophisticated technical solutions to ensure that each user’s data is inaccessible to other customers. Some STaaS vendors take it a step further. For example, with Zadara’s VPSA® Storage Arrays, the storage resources are not shared, but are dedicated to each customer. Every customer’s data is protected from being commingled with that of other users, and storage performance cannot be impacted by other customers’ workloads.

Myth 3: The Cloud Makes Data Storage Management More Complex

Some storage administrators whose expertise is based on traditional SAN or NAS storage models are concerned that their lack of intimate understanding of cloud infrastructure will make the storage management job more difficult. This is especially true if they are considering a hybrid solution, in which part of their data is committed to the cloud, and other parts remain on-site in their own data center. Actually, the simplification of storage management is one of the strengths of the STaaS approach.

A good STaaS vendor will provide customers with a simplified but comprehensive browser dashboard through which administrators can monitor and control their entire storage infrastructure. Functions such as determining system status or adding additional capacity can be accomplished quickly and intuitively through the dashboard, with no need to directly interact with physical storage resources.


Myth 4: The Cloud Leads To Vendor Lock-In

Another concern many IT managers have concerning cloud storage is being locked into a specific vendor. Once data is committed to a particular cloud services provider, it can be difficult to move it elsewhere if that becomes necessary or desirable. Here again, the choice of STaaS vendor can make a real difference.

Zadara Storage, for example, enables users to extract their storage infrastructure from their compute infrastructure.  This storage independence gives users the ability to connect their storage to any of the cloud service providers – effectively breaking the vendor lock-in.  Additionally, Zadara Storage supports a mulit-cloud approach where they can connect concurrently to multiple cloud service providers and share data between them.  This provides customers with the means to easily migrate their data between various public cloud vendors, such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, or between the cloud and the customer’s own on-premises storage. With good planning and the right STaaS provider, being locked into a specific cloud services vendor need not be an issue.

STaaS Takes Enterprise Storage To The Next Level

Companies are switching from traditional storage solutions to STaaS at ever-increasing rates. Research and Markets has projected that the global storage as a service market will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 29.59% between 2016 and 2020. If you’d like to know more about how STaaS can provide next-level storage solutions for your company, please download the ‘STaaS vs Traditional Storage’ infographic.

March 29, 2017

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Finding a Flexible Enterprise Storage Solution in Uncertain Times

Shopping for enterprise storage solutions can be frustrating. If you browse through the blogs and marketing materials put out by the hardware manufacturers, you’ll quickly see that they would like to convince you there’s no place for the enterprise in the cloud. You know that can’t be true, simply because enterprises are adopting the cloud in such large numbers. Conversely, if you read only what the cloud vendors have to say, you’ll see that they want to convince you that on-premise storage is just too expensive and inflexible. It’s become a challenge to find a flexible enterprise storage solution.

What if you could get the best of both worlds? What if you could get the low-cost, convenience, and flexibility of the cloud, plus the ease, security, and low-latency of on-premise storage. Better yet, what if you could get it all without the enormous costs of buying on-premises servers and hardware or without the loss of control and data ownership often attributed to the cloud?

Why Hybrid Works Best for the Enterprise

The hybrid cloud is a happy middle ground between buying all that hardware for your data center and transferring all your data into the cloud.

The main concerns for on-premises enterprise storage solutions are:
• High cost (usually in a big capital expenditure)
• Difficulty in capacity planning
• Locked in to a single vendor
• Difficulty getting executives to sign off on these expenses

The main concerns for all-cloud storage solutions are:
• Security
• Data ownership
• Latency/performance

What if you had a single storage solution that addressed all of the major concerns about both storage options? The hybrid cloud is a means to take advantage of the low cost, scalability, and flexibility of the cloud, without those enormous capital expenditures. There’s no concern about capacity planning, because if you need more, you just buy more. You aren’t locked into the hardware or software of any particular vendor, and you can pay for it as a low, monthly operational expense, just like your electricity bill.

The hybrid cloud also addresses all your concerns about the public cloud. You can keep any data you feel is too sensitive for the public cloud in your own data center, within your four walls, behind your firewall. Additionally, any applications that have little or no tolerance for latency can be kept on-premise. The hybrid cloud literally solves all of the problems related to both types of enterprise storage solutions.

A Flexible Storage Solution: The Benefits of Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS)

With the Zadara Storage solution, you can deploy the on-premise storage you need without those huge capital investments. You can get onsite storage-as-a-service (STaaS), just as you would acquire cloud-based storage. It works similarly to a lease (but has its own unique differences and advantages) — you let Zadara know what you need and how much of it, and voila! It’s yours for as long as you need it. When it’s no longer serving a purpose, it’s gone. No wailing and gnashing of teeth over data center hardware investments that didn’t produce an overnight ROI. There’s no long term commitment and no ownership of outdated hardware.

Whether you need affordable onsite enterprise storage solutions, cloud-based storage, or a hybrid cloud combination of the two, Zadara Storage has the STaaS you need to get it quickly and affordably. Check out the On-Premise as-a-Service Lease Comparison infographic to learn more about the savings and advantages of STaaS.

October 26, 2016

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The Sweet Simplicity and Efficiency of the ‘as-a-Service’ Model

Most people think As-a-Service (aaS) is focused on cloud only, but it isn’t. There are on-premises storage solutions sold aaS – as well as cloud products. Many people also believe that the primary advantage of aaS or cloud-based services is the cost savings. While there is a significant cost benefit, that is far from being the only (or perhaps even the most compelling) reason to consider aaS. The simplicity and efficiency of the ‘as-a-service’ model is unlike anything we’ve seen in the industry thus far. Here are many of the key advantages that make Storage as a Service (STaaS) a winning solution.

STaaS Makes It Less Risky to Take on Temporary or Experimental Projects

Storage as a Service means you never have to invest in new hardware for a temporary workload. You can take on projects, discontinue projects, extend projects … all without incurring unnecessary costs.

Enterprises often need temporary storage, such as for a development project or for some big data analytics experiment. Storage as a Service means that you can get temporary storage, for a low cost, which you can acquire immediately (as in minutes from the moment you make the request) and keep indefinitely. Project complete? No problem. Simply cancel the instance, and you’re done. It’s the most convenient, no-risk way to obtain a temporary or experimental storage solution you can find.

STaaS Allows the Business to Transfer Responsibility for the Upgrades & Maintenance

The cost of servers and storage solutions is high, but the ongoing costs for operating, maintaining, and keeping firmware and software upgraded is more than expensive. It’s time consuming, and is often the reason your tech folks don’t get around to more productive work. Storage-as-a-Service shifts all these mundane, tedious, time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating tasks to your storage vendor, meaning your IT team has time for more fruitful projects.

STaaS Makes It Easier to Integrate Various Devices & Platforms

Now you need it, now you don’t. Storage as a Service is the disposable form of enterprise storage. Like Dixie cups, only way more useful.

As businesses strive to be competitive, they require their IT departments to be nimble and responsive. This can be a difficult task when deploying a variety of applications on different platforms. IT departments need to be an enabler to success, rather than a roadblock. There can be a tremendous whipsaw effect as IT is trying to keep up with the demands of the company by purchasing and deploying infrastructure, only to find that the project was canceled or eliminated. More and more IT departments are finding that Storage-as-a-Service gives them flexibility, agility and addresses the increasing need for interoperability.

Additionally, IT now has the ability to change the “personality” of the storage to meet the immediate need. As an example, let’s say you need increased peformance and capacity at the end of the month for quarter-end processing. You may want to change out your controller for more performance, or add additional Solid-State-Drives (SSD) for increased performance. You essentially would like to “borrow” a higher performing array for the week. However, once the processing is done, you would like to go back to your mid-range storage array. With Storage-as-a-Service, this is not only possible, it is very common.

STaaS is Immensely Scalable

We touched briefly on some situations where companies might need temporary storage. Similarly, businesses today need scalability, and that means upward scalability as well as downward scalability. Say you roll out a new product line. It serves its purpose, but a couple of years from now you discontinue that product line in favor of a newer alternative product. With STaaS, you simply close down the storage you don’t need anymore. You haven’t invested tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in storage infrastructure that is now outdated and unsuitable to transfer to use for the new product line.

STaaS Eliminates Much of the Capacity Planning Hassle (and Guesswork!)

Capacity planning is stressful, time-consuming, and when it comes right down to it, actually just a whole lot of guesswork. It’s impossible to plan with a high degree of accuracy exactly what your storage needs will be this time next year, let alone three to five years down the line. With STaaS, that’s okay! Get only what you need, only when you need it, and ditch it when you don’t. It doesn’t get simpler.

To learn more about your storage alternatives, download this Download the ‘STaaS vs Traditional Storage’ infographic now.

June 21, 2016

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The Why and When of an Industry-Wide Shift to OpEx Everywhere

Significant IT expenditures, such as servers, storage arrays, networking equipment and critical software systems have historically found themselves squarely in the CapEx expenditure pile. Capital expenses take longer to get approval, are generally larger and riskier expenditures, and essentially lock the company into a particular IT infrastructure, at least until the lifecycle of the expense is complete and the investment has delivered its expected ROI. But what if all that changed? What if many (potentially all) of those IT investments could be shifted to the OpEx side of the ledger? That’s precisely what is happening now. Common “as-a-Service” offerings are IT solutions (both hardware and software, and occasionally a nice mixture of the two) are served up as cost-effective, pay-as-you-go alternatives to large, risky IT expenditures. So, why is there this industry-wide shift to OpEx?
Continue reading The Why and When of an Industry-Wide Shift to OpEx Everywhere

May 16, 2016

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How On-Premise Storage-as-a-Service Works

By now, most people, especially those in the position to shop for IT products and services, are aware of the “aaS” or “as a Service” offerings. Currently, you can get a wide range of aaS offerings, including infrastructure, platform, application, storage, disaster recovery, database, monitoring, communications, and in case you can’t narrow it down: XaaS or “Everything as a Service” (also sometimes called “Anything as a Service”). To date there is no Kitchen Sink as a Service, but stay tuned. Since it’s new to the industry, many people wonder how On-Premise Storage-as-a-Service works.

Continue reading How On-Premise Storage-as-a-Service Works

April 18, 2016

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