While discussing the benefits of cloud-integrated storage at a trade show recently, I experienced a fairly common sensation in a startup world that so often repeats itself. I had a case of technological déjà vu. A colleague and I were talking about file sprawl – the steady growth in the size and volume of files within organizations, and how these files are increasingly spread out across multiple data centers, offices and machines. File sprawl isn’t merely a data deluge problem. With traditional storage, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of where all these files live, different copies of the same data and whether the data is properly protected. As we talked about how cloud-integrated storage eliminates these headaches, it hit me. We’ve been through this before.
More than a decade ago, server sprawl was strangling many businesses. Then virtualization arrived on the scene and helped address the problem. Today, we’re in the midst of a familiar revolution. Cloud-integrated storage is the new virtualization. It’s doing for file sprawl what VMware and others did for the server problem.
Back in 2000, there was no such thing as shared infrastructure that allowed multiple server instances at the compute layer. Companies essentially had to dedicate a server to each application. Yes, a server could host multiple applications, but if a business was running five applications on a single machine, those applications would compete for resources and underperform. To avoid that, companies would often buy dedicated hardware for each new application. This one-to-one ratio led to server sprawl.
Virtualization allowed applications to share resources in a much more efficient way. Businesses no longer needed to purchase new machines to run new applications, which led to significant savings. But the secondary benefits of the shift may have had an even greater impact. With virtualization, IT had much more control over where data and applications resided and operated. And since they no longer had to install new hardware, the timeline shifted. Companies could test and launch new applications at the speed of business.
All of which brings us back to file sprawl. Typically our clients come to Nasuni because they are struggling to store, protect and provide access to files across multiple locations. These locations often operate as independent storage silos, each with their own hardware and systems. Nasuni brings all these locations together under a single file solution that delivers unlimited capacity, automatic protection and fast access for every user, from any location or device. IT has more control over storage across the organization, and the capacity of the cloud means companies don’t need to buy expensive hardware to head off data growth.
As with virtualization, though, the unexpected benefits are also having a major impact. If a new company is acquired or a new office opened, IT simply has to install a virtual or physical Nasuni appliance at that location. The new office quickly becomes part of the larger storage environment, enjoying the same protection, access and fast performance as headquarters. End users in that office, or any other location, find it easier to collaborate with co-workers thanks to Nasuni’s global file sharing. They can securely access the same volumes, and file-locking ensures that their work won’t conflict.
There are a number of ways to address the file sprawl problem, and we discuss several of them in our latest white paper on the cloud-integrated storage marketplace. But businesses looking to address this issue shouldn’t simply think about cost-effective capacity. The additional benefits of a cloud-integrated storage solution like Nasuni can transform storage from an expensive weight into a dynamic, efficiency-enhancing business advantage.
The landscape of cloud-integrated storage solutions is becoming increasingly crowded, making it harder for businesses to determine which one meets their specific needs. Before choosing a cloud-integrated storage solution, there are a number of factors to consider.