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What no one is telling you about the cloud

It is no longer a question of “WHEN I get to a cloud,” but “WHAT cloud am I using now, and WHICH clouds will I be using tomorrow.” Every cloud platform has pros and cons, and enterprises are picking and choosing which one they want to use and for what. In fact, more than 85% of enterprise IT organizations will be leveraging multiple clouds by 2018. Utilizing multiple cloud platforms has added benefits:

  • You can maintain buyer leverage by working with multiple providers
  • You avoid lock-in by not getting stuck with only one vendor
  • You can take advantage of specialized features (Ex: machine learning with Microsoft Azure)

And of course, you can reap the underlying benefits of the cloud – cost savings, improved business agility, and higher scalability.

IBM_Cloud_data1_fb_1200x1200.jpgIt all sounds so great! But…

Challenges still exist when integrating one cloud, let alone multiple clouds in your IT environment. Whether you are beginning or continuing to build out your cloud strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Is the cloud really cheaper?
When it comes to long-term data storage, enterprises have been traditionally using on-premises solutions, such as tape. The underlying benefit is that tape is cheap – LTO tape costs approximately $30 and stores 2.5 gigabytes of raw data. But, there are other costs to consider. You have to pay for tape storage, not to mention that your data is sitting idle and unused. There is also the possibility that tapes can be lost or damaged, which can lead to regulatory compliance risk and fines.

Public cloud providers offer low-cost options, such as Amazon Glacier, which is priced at $.004 per gigabyte per month. Storing secondary data in the cloud has many obvious benefits; there is no need for upfront and substantial investments in servers, storage, space, and power. And since cloud infrastructure reduces complexity, fewer resources are required on a day-to-day basis. But, it is important to note that there are additional costs that need to be considered such as network costs and data and workload migration expenses, just to name a few.

So, the decision to store data in the cloud versus on-premises should not be one just about cost. Consider what you want to do with the data –gain visibility, gather insights, and make your data an extension rather a silo of your data management strategy? If so, the benefits of the cloud may outweigh the costs.

2. Cloud proprietary solutions are often not enough
When cloud computing first came on the market, enterprises were hesitant. How can you run applications and store data in the cloud while ensuring resiliency, reliability, and highly availability? Cloud providers have spent years educating all of us that it is possible and that the cloud is foolproof. In many ways, they have proved us right; large multi-national enterprises have moved Tier 1 application workloads and data to the cloud successfully. But accidents do happen and the cloud can and does go down.

Cloud providers do offer services to help offset downtime risk through native backup, snapshot, and replication solutions. These services seem great at first – if you are storing data the cloud, you can easily protect it and thus eliminate the impact of data loss. But, let’s dive a little bit further. What if you are storing data on-premises or in multiple clouds? These proprietary solutions only work with a specific cloud provider, leaving the data and workloads you are storing on other platforms exposed.

This is why it is important to read the fine print. If you are looking to leverage the cloud as an extension of your infrastructure, it is vital to understand how your data is being protected. This is even more important when adopting a multi-cloud strategy. Cloud vendors may promote proprietary solutions but make sure you understand what data is being protected and how. A backup and recovery solution that spans your entire infrastructure, both on-premises and across multiple clouds is key, otherwise you are opening yourself up to significant data loss, not to mention the possibility of hefty fines.

As you navigate through the multi-cloud, learn how Veritas can help you not only migrate to the cloud effectively but protect your data and workloads across your entire environment.