Files in the Cloud: Strategic, Tactical, or Optional?

June 17, 2021

Recently, at The Festival of Big Data & Cloud, I had the chance to host a fascinating live panel discussion about storing files in the cloud. Joined by Ken Clipperton, Lead Analyst for Storage at the Data Center Intelligence Group, and Nasuni Founder & CTO Andres Rodriguez, we discussed whether cloud file storage is now a strategic, tactical, or optional decision for large enterprises. While I did have a long list of questions prepared, I ultimately decided to ignore them and simply steer what turned out to be a fantastic conversation between Ken and Andres. We will be giving an encore presentation on June 29th here, but I thought I’d run through a few of the highlights in this post.

We began with the basics of cloud file storage, what it takes to move your files to the cloud, and why the cloud storage giants have welcomed third-party solutions like Nasuni because of our ability to deliver the kind of security and performance that enterprises demand. Ken then made some really interesting points about the lift-and-shift dilemma and whether it makes sense to simply move your familiar tools and systems into the cloud. While there’s some appeal, the downside, as he explained, is that you often end up bringing the complexity and limitations of the enterprise data center into the cloud along with your files. Some of these solutions were designed when 100 TBs was a lot of data. They’re not built for the multi-PB era.

Andres echoed this point as well, noting that this lift-and-shift approach limits what you can leverage in the cloud. The cloud providers have built for scale from the very beginning. If you don’t adapt your infrastructure to the points of leverage in their architecture, Andres explained, then you’re basically just hosting your Windows File Servers somewhere else. You’re not really leveraging the cloud.

A few other highlights of the discussion:

  • Unstructured Data Growth: Ken talked about the tremendous growth in file data across industries, from municipalities to energy firms.
  • Thinking About Data Strategically: Why more enterprises are thinking about data from an executive- or Board-level perspective.
  • Ransomware Recovery: Both Ken and Andres talked about how the thinking around data protection needs to shift toward recoveries.

This last topic was especially interesting for us, and I wasn’t surprised to see Andres smiling and nodding along as Ken talked about how enterprises and large organizations need to change the way they think about ransomware protection. Instead of asking if their data is protected, they should be asking how long it will take their organization to recover when a ransomware attack happens, how much money they will lose per day of downtime, and whether there’s a better way to prepare for this eventuality.

The insights from Ken and Andres on this subject alone are worth a viewing, but there’s plenty more cloud file storage insight in the webinar. I don’t want to give away every detail from the talk, though, so I’ll leave it there. Thanks to The Festival of Big Data & Cloud for hosting the event and to Ken Clipperton for sharing his expertise. I hope you’ll register to watch for yourself on June 29th, and that you’ll reach out to Nasuni if you’re thinking about accelerating your shift to cloud file storage.

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