Cloud computing is one of the most important technologies in the world right now, but it can be extremely confusing at times. This series aims to take the jargon out of the cloud and explain things in a much more brain-friendly way.
Following on from the adoption of cloud services for compute infrastructure, with Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions, companies are now also benefitting from putting their storage needs into the cloud – with new “Storage-as-a-Service” offerings coming to the market. What is Storage-as-a-Service and who are the targeted customers for this offering?
Storage-as-a-Service is a model where storage capacity is leased to businesses to meet their requirement to store company data that can be accessed globally via the internet. The benefits of a SaaS model for storage includes a lower cost for securing the storage resources and scalability on demand for storage requirements that can be accessed and managed by the customer. In a similar way to other as-a-service models, Storage-as-a-Service is funded through an operating expense model versus requiring a capital investment, minimizing the upfront spend required by the customer. Furthermore the service opens up possibilities for disaster recovery in the cloud, making recovery of data to the cloud much simpler with lower risks associated around any failures and reduced costs associated with recovering the data.
With an increasing number of businesses running their shop-front on the web and with an increasing emphasis on the online environment for researching, connecting with others and undertaking online transactions, there is an increased reliance on IT applications and on the business IT infrastructure. These changes bring a high demand for increasing amounts of data to be stored and backed up at high reliability and security levels and in a reduced amount of time.
Traditionally data has been stored on hard disks located in-house or at a local data centre, which despite being perceived as more secure and under local management control has persistently been under threat from disk crashes and subsequent data loss. One of the biggest challenges of storage continues to be our inability to predict how much of it is required and when exactly the increased storage amounts need to be provisioned.
With the advent of cloud solutions, Storage-as-a-Service, replication services and disaster recovery services in the cloud are just some of the services which are available to assist businesses with these enhanced needs for data storage, backup and recovery solutions and who are seeking business continuity options.
Traditionally IT departments would need to add disk arrays to meet the needs of the increased growth of business data. Similarly in order to implement a data recovery and continuity solution, IT would be required to add additional storage and / or another site that would replicate the data making the IT architecture complex and costly to be managed. There would also be added complexity if the data is required to be accessed from multiple locations.
However with the “Storage as a Service” model the storage component is integrated as another element of the cloud making it scalable on demand and enabling cloud security features to also benefit from the storage component, making it more secure. Finally there is a high reachability of the data as cloud as a model makes the information accessible from anywhere – extending the same feature to Storage-as-a-Service.
Typically Enterprises who are struggling to cope with the increased data storage requirements of the business and / or who have an ageing storage infrastructure in-house, can benefit from Storage-as-a-Service so that the mission critical data of the company can be accessed on the cloud, benefitting from global accessibility, redundancy and scalability.
Storage-as-a-Service is undoubtedly gaining popularity for both businesses and consumers and offers an opportunity for service providers to deliver added value to businesses who are no longer finding in-house physical storage as the best solution for their company. It also satisfies business needs for additional capacity in terms of scalability, accessibility, cost and data recovery.
For more cloud jargon busting check out the rest of our "99 Problems but the cloud ain't one series: