When I joined Nasuni eighteen short months ago, we were putting a great deal of effort into reassuring people. One of my imperatives was convincing enterprises and IT leaders that it really was OK to store file data in the cloud. This was not new. We had been addressing this concern since we were founded. But in the time since I started here, there has been a massive shift in the marketplace. Businesses are no longer asking whether or if they should take advantage of cloud storage. Now it has become a question of when. Cloud fear is finished.
Understanding Cloud Fear
The gradual nature of the change is understandable. Initially, the very idea of moving critical business files out of your data center and into a public cloud was too radical to consider. Would they be protected? Would they be available when you needed them? Were the clouds themselves reliable? Nasuni has long emphasized the particular strengths of our secure cloud storage. Our security model effectively extends the security perimeter of your office to the cloud, ensuring that your data is always protected, whether it’s moving over the wire or at rest in the cloud. This is possible in part because neither the cloud nor Nasuni ever have access to a client’s encryption keys.
Still, cloud fear persisted, and certain developments, such as Nirvanix and its infamous two weeks notice announcement, hardly helped. But companies slowly began to see that when the right cloud is integrated with the right solution, designed with strong security, then fear of cloud is unfounded.
The 2014 Azure Outage
The 2014 Azure outage is a good example. Although there were service interruptions, and many of our clients were utilizing Azure as a cloud, our customer support team did not receive a complaint. Not a single one. This was not luck. Nasuni Cloud NAS caches active files locally for high-performance access, so our clients still had fast access to the data they needed. Protection remained in force as well: Our snapshot-based approach has built-in safeguards against outages. In the end, our clients didn’t complain about the Azure difficulties because there was no reason for them to know anything was wrong.
There are more details on this case in my initial post on the 2014 Azure Outage, but first I need to make another important point: These outages are extremely rare. One of the reasons fear has faded is that the major public cloud providers are very robust. We rigorously test each of the public clouds on a regular basis, measuring write/read/delete speeds, availability, scalability, and overall performance, then release the results in our annual State of Cloud Storage Report. Normally there is a clear winner – Azure, in recent years – but the top cloud storage providers are fundamentally fast and reliable. And their scores are improving each year.
Embracing Cloud Integrated Storage
The change since I first arrived at Nasuni has been tremendous. Now instead of trying to convince potential clients that cloud is the future, we are enjoying the fact that organizations are approaching us with that mindset. One of our recent clients was so determined to take advantage of cloud that they tried designing a Nasuni-like system in-house, only to discover that we’d done all the hard work for them. Of course, some companies are still somewhat hesitant, and reluctant to dive headfirst into cloud storage. Another one of our recent clients, for example, first signed with Nasuni to securely store backup data. But now that they have experience with the solution, they have begun the transition to using Cloud NAS for primary storage as well.
Cloud fear still appears now and then. Security experts occasionally warn customers and businesses about the risks of cloud storage, but these concerns do not apply to Nasuni. In fact, they often echo what we have been saying for years: If you are going to store data in the cloud, you have to do it the right way. Your data should never leave your premises unencrypted, and yours should be the only company with access to the keys.
The Advantage of Nasuni Cloud NAS
Today, we focus less on fighting cloud fear and more on detailing the particular advantages of our approach, and how Nasuni enhances IT and overall business productivity. That has been a huge change, and a huge relief in many ways, as it allows us to focus on what Nasuni was founded for in the first place: to make storing, managing, protecting and extending access to files efficient and cost-effective.