Why Are Companies Moving to Hybrid Cloud Architecture?

Jim Liddle addresses why IT leaders are making the shift from traditional hardware solutions to hybrid cloud architecture.

June 20, 2024

As data increasingly becomes a critical asset for organizations, enterprise companies need to solve the challenge of managing ever-growing volumes. The old solutions are no longer sufficient. Legacy Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems are failing to keep up with the pace of growth, and many organizations are turning to hybrid cloud solutions to optimize their data management strategies. Gartner’s Market Guide for Hybrid Cloud Storage Report estimates that within the next few years, nearly three out of four I&O leaders will turn to hybrid cloud architecture.

Just why are companies moving to hybrid cloud storage solutions? This article explores the reasons behind this transition and the compelling benefits of adopting a hybrid cloud approach for unstructured file data.

1. Legacy NAS is Limited:

Legacy NAS systems have long been the go-to solution for storing and accessing unstructured file data within enterprise environments. However, as data volumes continue to grow exponentially and the need for global accessibility and collaboration increases, these legacy systems have reached their limits. NAS systems lack the scalability, flexibility, manageability, and cost savings required to meet the evolving needs of today’s companies.

2. Hybrid Cloud Offers the Best of Both Worlds:

To overcome the limitations of legacy NAS, forward-thinking companies are transitioning to hybrid cloud. This approach combines the best of both worlds: the locality and performance of on-premises storage with the scalability and cost-effectiveness of cloud storage. By leveraging virtual edge devices for locality caches and a global file namespace, enterprises can achieve seamless access to their unstructured file data, regardless of regional or geographic location.

3. Virtual Edges Mitigate Data Gravity:

Data gravity refers to the tendency of data to be accessed and processed close to its point of creation or most frequent use. In a hybrid cloud approach, the concept of data gravity plays a crucial role in determining the placement of data.

This is where virtual edge devices and local caches come into play. By bringing data closer to the users and applications that require it, intelligent edge caches ensure that frequently accessed data is available with minimal latency, regardless of the underlying egress costs. The presence of edge caches mitigates the impact of data gravity, enabling organizations to maintain optimal performance and data availability, even in scenarios where data needs to be accessed from geographically dispersed locations.

4. IT Gets Simpler Management & Control

In practical terms, to end users, the data is quickly and easily accessible just as it was previously through their legacy NAS interface. They notice no difference. IT, however, does notice the difference! Data is ‘joined up.’ Similar data sets are easily accessible in different geographies. Collaboration for end users is simplified. A single management console can manage the entire data stack. Data resiliency is built in, not bolted on, and IT has more time to focus on higher-level work.

5. The Unified Global File Namespace:

One of the key advantages of a hybrid cloud approach is the establishment of a global file namespace. This unified namespace provides a single, consistent view of all unstructured file data, regardless of its physical location. Whether data resides on-premises, in the cloud, or at the edge, users can access and manage files seamlessly through a familiar NAS-like interface. This simplifies data management, hugely enhances collaboration, and enables users to focus on their core tasks without worrying about the underlying storage infrastructure.

6. Hybrid Cloud Prepares You for an AI-Driven Future:

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly integral to business operations, the hybrid cloud approach enables organizations to capitalize on their unstructured data for use with AI services. The global file namespace provided by a hybrid architecture unifies unstructured file data across the enterprise, making it readily accessible for AI consumption. Note that edge caches play a vital role by transiently feeding fresh data into the namespace, ensuring that AI algorithms have access to the most up-to-date business information.

Gartner states[1] that enterprises are now employing machine learning (ML) models at the edge to process and analyze data closer to the source, rather than just moving data to the cloud. This further underlines the need for a global file namespace and edge caches.

7. Hybrid Cloud Strengthens Data Resilience:

The hybrid cloud approach enables constant snapshots of stored data, providing built-in data protection and a resilient foundation for AI workloads. These snapshots not only provide AI data resilience against bad actors but can also serve as a reliable source of historical data, providing the potential for AI models to learn from past patterns and make informed predictions. This is a direct benefit of the unique architecture of hybrid cloud storage: the same system that automatically protects your unstructured data can be used to bolster your AI and ML models.

8. Hybrid Cloud Architecture Reduces Costs

The transition from legacy NAS and backup solutions to a single, unified hybrid cloud architecture can reduce costs by up to 65%. Some enterprises drive savings by shrinking their hardware footprint and eliminating redundant solutions like backup and DR. Other companies reduce costs by transitioning from cloud solutions that grow more expensive at scale to hybrid cloud platforms that maintain your cost efficiencies as you expand. In either case, the economics of hybrid cloud architecture continues to be one of the more appealing benefits.

An Attractive Option for All Businesses

In conclusion, by combining the benefits of local file accessibility with the scalability and flexibility of the cloud, organizations can achieve improved performance, enhanced collaboration, and significant cost savings. The ability to scale storage resources on-demand, leverage the global accessibility of the cloud, and maintain local control over critical data makes the hybrid cloud approach an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. Additionally, the hybrid cloud approach is an enabler for organizations to harness the power of AI for their unstructured domain specific data sets by providing a unified and resilient data foundation. Just why are companies moving to hybrid cloud? The answer is varied but quite simple. Hybrid cloud architecture has become crucial for enterprises seeking to unlock the full potential of their unstructured file data

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