5 Reasons You Should NOT Use Cloud Storage

5-reasons-not-to-move-to-cloud-storage-webThis post is something of an exercise in opening my mind. The value and benefits of cloud storage are so clear and compelling that I have found it difficult to understand why a business would choose not to embrace the cloud as a means of solving file sprawl. In the past, cloud fear was a major obstacle, but this is no longer the case. So I tried to put myself in the shoes of a change-averse enterprise to better understand their thinking. The result is a list of the top five reasons you should not move files to the cloud.

1. You love running big hardware datacenters.

We are all still kids at heart and a massive datacenter is essentially a giant playroom filled with very expensive and complex toys. One of the best parts? These toys, otherwise known as servers, do not take care of themselves. You get to oversee the maintenance of both the datacenter as a whole and the actual hardware. Heating, cooling, electricity, disaster planning – that’s all yours.

As time goes by and your employees and applications generate more and larger files, this hardware will start to run out of capacity. But don’t worry about consolidating your data center. You can always buy a whole new set of big, shiny, expensive servers when you need more space. This makes your storage environment more complex, which only adds to the fun. And of course don’t forget the budget planning that goes along with it – what’s not to love about complex financial spreadsheets?

2. Migrations are a joy!

Speaking of fun, there are so many enjoyable ways to spend your nights and weekends. A family trip, a movie, an outing with some friends. But nothing is more restorative than sitting at your workstation late into the night, or through the weekend, managing the movement of files from one storage volume to another. No matter which solution you have in place, migrations can be very complex affairs. And IT professionals love nothing more than performing challenging, pull-out-your-hair tasks on nights or weekends when all their friends and families are engaged in more traditional pastimes. You won’t receive any credit for the work. Of course not. Everyone else expects this kind of effort from you, since it is part of your job.

The work isn’t all solitary, either. You do get to interact with your peers when they call you about the inevitable permissions problems that keep them from their data. Then you can be a hero and solve the problem they blamed you for in the first place. But you don’t need the credit. For you, the joy lies in managing the minutiae of migrations.

The 2015 State of Cloud Storage Infographic
Download The 2015 State of Cloud Storage infographic to learn more.

3. You never need your backups.

Your users may have lost access to their files before. Maybe they deleted a document they needed, or suddenly wanted an old project back. But you know that files are files. Your users can always create new ones. In fact, you and your colleagues have been wondering whether it’s necessary to protect company files at all. Sure, you may have heard about how the cloud can eliminate the need for backup, generating significant cost savings and improving protection, but why not just leave everything to chance instead? Writing to tape is the Russian roulette of the IT world, and you love that process. So go ahead, scrap protection, and inject a little do-or-die drama into your work life.

4. Your users stay in one place.

In most modern enterprises, employees are constantly on the go, demanding access to their files from any device or location. The right enterprise cloud storage solution makes this possible, but your users never actually leave their desks. Sure, they go home at night, but they never want to access their files from their home offices, or any other location. They never travel for business. They never meet with clients. So I can see why cloud storage might seem like an unnecessary option for your business. You may even want to shut down your servers at night.

5. No one shares files or collaborates.

Again, many modern businesses rely on employees who work out of different locations, but still need to collaborate on projects. Users in one city often need to access the same files as their colleagues in a completely different region. But in your company, cloud file sharing isn’t necessary, because no one ever works together across locations, or even within the office. Most of the time they don’t even speak to each other. On those rare occasions when a project requires the input of an employee who works in a different region, the standard operating procedure is to charter a jet, fly that person into the office for a few hours, then whisk them back again. If something comes up the next day, and that employee’s input is needed again, there are always more jets.

Personally, I still think cloud storage makes more sense, and Cloud NAS in particular, but this has been a helpful exercise for me. I am starting to understand why companies choose to avoid moving files to the cloud. That said, if you are the sort who would rather avoid migrations, reduce your dependence on expensive hardware, enhance protection and extend file access, you might want to take a minute to watch this quick video.

The 2015 State of Cloud Storage

3 Responses
  1. Steve

    Sorry, but this seems rather biased and sounds like sales rhetoric, with pulled out of the air ideas, than justifiable facts, massively imprinting your own presuppositions and prejudices on it. Cloud isn’t for everyone, nor is it appropriate for every thing. You haven’t even mentioned money, security, the cost of fast WAN links in some cases, and other reasonable factors as to why to not use cloud storage.
    If a company has 1500 users, accessing 100Tb of data on-prem SAN storage for file shares and Oracle databases. Using say 2 nodes in a cluster for file-shares, and an oracle RAC of 3 nodes. (Physical or Virtual) 2 servers for backup (master and media) and an average tape library of say 1 robot, 4 drives and 500 tape slots.How does a company moving to cloud benefit in real terms? Please show me where this company would save lots of money? Because even looking just at backup jobs alone, the cost of cloud meets on-prem in roughly 16 months in my use case, and then the cloud just carries on going exponentially up, whereas the on-prem cost flat lines.
    Then there is access, security, DR, ownership and a whole load of other objectives to look at.

    1. Steve,

      Thank you for your comments. The blog was meant to be entertaining, so yes, we took a few liberties. No technology is the right answer for everything, but since you asked, I’d like to address your comments directly.

      First of all, Nasuni as NAS focuses on unstructured file data, so I will answer for your file shares and how the cost of what you are doing now would compare to using Nasuni.

      You brought up several issues: money, security, access, DR and the cost of WAN links.

      Nasuni has a unique model of combing on-premises caching with cloud storage. Users access their files through on-premises devices which cache active data locally, while sending snapshots to the cloud. All of the data, the gold copy, stays in cloud storage. Nasuni typically uses Microsoft Azure as the cloud storage. Nasuni provides the whole solution to you as a service, and takes responsibility for everything includes procuring and providing the cloud storage. We charge by TB of primary data, and all backup history, unlimited, is included. We can do this because we use snap shots to send the data to the cloud, and deduplicate, compress and encrypt the data before it goes to the cloud. The encryption is done using a key you generate and control and put into the on-premises devices, so data is encrypted in transit and at rest in the cloud under a key that only you have. So now that you have the basics of Nasuni, lets address your questions.

      Cost – When considering the combined cost of the primary storage, backup, DR, mobile access (Nasuni includes mobile access) our clients find Nasuni saves them 40-60% over the total cost of their file storage, backup, etc. We have published on our web site written, named case studies where our clients document this. If you’d like we can discuss Nasuni with you, and you can see what your savings would be, or if we’re wrong about that for your case.

      Security – this is a big one for a lot of people when looking at Cloud. With Nasuni, since the data is encrypted on your premises with a key you generate and control, neither Nasuni or a cloud provider have access to the data. Our filers join your Active Directory so all of your user administration, password rules, permissions, etc. are all part of the system.

      Access – active data is cached and accessed locally. There are Filers of varying specs for varying workloads, so users will see no difference in accessing files with Nasuni vs. a local SAN+server or NAS. Filers can share data across offices, so there is no need for separate replication, and files can by locked across offices like a local server for collaboration. There is also a mobile, sync and web access which connects through the Nasuni filers so mobile access is done with the encryption under your control instead of 3rd party providers with encryption they control – or your users just using consumer grade sharing themselves.

      DR – Nasuni Filers point at the data in the consolidated cloud store. In a disaster, you can have access to your data in 15 minutes anywhere there’s bandwidth by standing up a new Nasuni Filer, virtual or physical. If you keep a Filer hot in a secondary location you won’t have wait the 15 minutes and if you are using a virtual filer this doesn’t cost any extra from Nasuni. With the cloud provider, there are 6 copies of your data (including the history) 3 each across two geographically distributed data centers, safe from any one disaster.

      Cost of WAN – Nasuni uses a snapshot process which sends only changes, deduplicated, compressed and encrypted so it uses the WAN efficiently. In fact, many people who were using WAN acceleration or contemplating it to get access across locations find that with Nasuni they no longer need this added expense. Nasuni only talks to the cloud vie Internet bandwidth and does not consume any expensive internal MPLS bandwidth.

      So, how do we save money for you?

      1 – You no longer need separate backup, backup server, robot or more tape, or off-site storage.

      2 – You never have to worry about moving to new formats of tape as your data grows

      3 – Your backup charges do not grow. There is no separate charge for the backup copies with Nasuni.

      4 – You don’t need a separate facility or co-lo or separate copy of your data or replication for DR.

      …plus the issues of scale and migration already discussed (admittedly in a purposefully entertaining and snarky way)

      I hope that helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.

      – Fred Pinkett

  2. Glenn Miller

    you IT guys are way out in left field — I have been using a computer since 1985 – always kept my own files on my own computer, and I finally reached 300 GB on my hard drive. I worked for a company for a short period where we were required to “work off of the server”. Now it appears we are supposed to “work off the cloud”. Tell me one good reason why I want my data stored on the cloud. I back up to my Passport about 2 times per month. – and just like the cloud, you never know what is really there. Just try to restore from the cloud or your passport — you have major problems, Or just go out and buy a new PC and try to transfer all programs, emails, address book, etc to the new computer. In addition – there is all these passwords, user names, etc, and having to log into your MSFT account, it is just becoming too much a hassle. Within 5 years the internet will become completely useless because the IT personnel think they know what is needed but do not have a clue!!!