Cloud Storage Takes Shape

Enterprises will have to aim carefully within the storage cloud

June 25, 2008

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Cloud storage, although still in its relative infancy, is taking shape, with a slew of announcements this week from Parascale, CD Networks, and Nirvanix.

The idea of letting users store and access data via the Internet, such as Amazons S3 offering, is gaining momentum, forcing vendors to thrash out their respective strategies.

As analyst Fred Moore of Horison Information Strategies explains in a recent research note for the Wikibon user group: “Nearly all storage vendors will have some role to play within cloud storage – cloud computing will drive existing storage and data management concepts to the next level and on a much greater scale than ever before.”

Startup Parascale, in particular, claims to be running with this concept. Although the vendor has not yet launched its Parascale Cloud Storage (PCS) software, the vendor’s CEO, Sajai Krishnan, has his eye on massively scalable systems.

“The clustering model that we have is somewhat analogous to what Google has,” he tells Byte and Switch, drawing a parallel with the famous Google File System (GFS), which consists of thousands of inexpensive commodity storage devices clustered to share large, multi-Gbyte files.By enabling users and service providers to tie large numbers of servers together à la Google, Parascale is touting cloud storage as a way for firms to meet the need for massive data growth.

This is all well and good, but cloud storage is hardly a silver bullet for users’ data woes, according to at least one analyst.

“There’s definitely value in people having the ability to rent storage for specific data such as personal files or a backup target,” says Brian Babineau, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). But the analyst adds that enterprises are still likely to take a fairly cautious approach to the technology.

A user, for example, is much more likely to use cloud storage for testing how a custom application integrates with SAP, according to Babineau, than they are to shift entire workloads into the cloud.

“As far as full-blown production systems and enterprise applications go, I think that [users] will develop the applications in the cloud and then bring them [back] to run on their own infrastructure,” says Babineau.The analyst explains that this scenario is partly driven by security concerns and users’ inherent fear of relinquishing control of key applications, although he acknowledges that there is a sweet spot for cloud storage.

“The consumer opportunity is where cloud computing makes a lot of sense,” he says, alluding to an area that has already been targeted by the likes of EMC. “But for enterprises, it’s going to be a phased approach of ‘how do they want to use it?’ ”

Cloud storage may be an obvious choice for consumers and small businesses struggling with limited resources, but it seems that there is still some way to go before enterprises view the technology as something more than a test-and-dev platform.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

  • CDNetworks Co. Ltd.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • Nirvanix Inc.

  • ParaScale Inc.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights