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Why Enterprises are Considering Cloud

Companies also look to public cloud storage for email, which typically is a constant resource concern. IT managers are besieged by requests to increase the size limits on employee mailboxes. Government and legal requirements to save all correspondence for extended periods also tax email systems, which is why IT managers look to providers that have effective management protocols already in place.

Read and Gilmer are noticing that several of their clients, especially those in regulated industries or those who have custody of their customers’ personal information, opt for private cloud architectures. In the face of some of the attacks and outages that have afflicted even major providers, availability and security are of utmost concern to companies that want to implement cloud storage.

“We’ve seen so many instances in the press of data being hacked, et cetera, and that’s when it’s not in the cloud,” Read says. “I would have to say that security is the number one concern we see with people being warned away from public cloud. Sitting closely behind this concern is the flexibility they need to manage their business. In the private cloud, they will have the kind of ultimate control that they would need.”

Generally, larger enterprises require a hybrid environment where mission-critical data is stored in a private cloud and a public cloud is used for less-critical tasks. “It may not be exactly the system implementation that clients envision longer term,” Gilmer says, “but it gives them the opportunity to do that kind of work on their schedule and better control the cost of infrastructure requirements, at least in the early going.”

Third-party cloud storage providers could save companies the expense of buying and maintaining their own storage systems, storage networks and backup infrastructures. They can also provide accountability, help with capacity planning and handle performance-management issues.

One of the most common problems an IT manager faces is when a project manager doesn’t have a handle on the project’s storage needs. Some only look to satisfy immediate concerns and frequently run out of space. Others overestimate the space they’ll need, leading to low capacity utilization and unused resources. Still others don’t know the service levels of various data (i.e., online data that’s immediately available or data stored in a hierarchical system that’s only accessed occasionally and should be stored on less expensive media). Third-party providers can help manage these issues for an IT manager, relieving some of the pressures of these tasks.

Some clients worry they won’t get the control and flexibility they want from third-party storage providers. Most clients need multiple service levels with costs aligned to business requirements for storage performance, availability, security and retention. “Many cloud providers have kind of a one-size-fits-all type of approach,” Gilmer says, “which may not be adequate to meet service level requirements, especially for mission-critical applications.”

Monetizing Cloud Storage

Clients are looking for operational efficiencies and cost reduction when it comes to storage, in whatever route they choose. Gilmer often recommends the way to achieve these efficiencies is through storage optimization with adequate tools, instrumentation and management practices in place. He also recommends clients strongly consider a chargeback or showback mechanism as an incentive to conserve IT resources.

“Typically when you describe cloud computing, especially public cloud, you’re generally talking about some kind of pay-for-service type of implementation based on incremental usage,” Gilmer explains. “In a private cloud implementation, you want the same flexibility and agility, but you might not be as interested in the granularity of charging mechanisms that you would typically see in a public cloud implementation.”

Joel Keller is a freelance writer who started his career as an IT specialist at IBM, where he worked for nine years before leaving to follow his passion for writing full time.



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