The first definition was that cloud storage is a service delivered over a network (internet or intranet). As promised, I’d like to dive deeper into this topic and discuss protocols for access and the impact on cloud storage adoption.
Pioneers in the cloud storage space have implemented a web-based offering that leverages a REST or HTTP based protocol for user access over the internet. Wide area connections require a protocol that supports larger latency and network disruption.
Custom web solutions like REST fit the bill, and APIs were created and were embraced by the internet community. These early adopters have had good success and helped define the market and industry terms.
Purists will argue that cloud can only be a cloud when accessed over the internet, but many feel that view is limited and incorrect (more on that in a future post).
While web-based protocols hatched the early adopters, the exclusive use of these protocols will keep cloud adoption small. When starting from scratch it is easy to pick a web-protocol and start developing.
The challenge comes when you have existing applications and processes in place. Customers are hesitant (or unwilling) to re-write how applications talk to storage or change working processes already in place.
Why should the customer have to change for cloud storage?
The good news is the customer doesn’t have to change. Private storage clouds support well defined and broadly accepted protocols like NFS and CIFS.
Customers can leverage the scale of cloud architectures and the savings of commodity hardware and simplified management, yet still service existing applications and processes.