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Cloud Storage Status Check

As cloud storage continues to become more pervasive, we are starting to see some maturing in the market place and some settling in on use cases. There are four common use cases: backup, archive, distribution and collaboration.

The backup use case is moving beyond the consumer model and even the prosumer model from companies like Mozy or Carbonite and into more of the SMB market. The most common approach here is to use a hybrid deployment where your most frequent data sets are local and then are replicated to the cloud. As we stated in our article on SMB Cloud Backup, companies like Axcient and DS3 are well down the road of providing this sort of functionality.

Archive will eventually be the lion share of the cloud capacity used in business. It is an ideal use case for the cloud -- get that old data out of your facility and into someone else's. The movement is secure, featuring end-to-end encryption, and many providers don''t even keep the encryption keys, so they can't see your data even if they wanted to. Again, the hybrid model is gaining in popularity here as well. This allows your archive to be as simple as copying old data to an appliance that appears to be a bottomless NFS or CIFS mount point. Companies like Nirvanix, Bycast and Iron Mountain are all offering products or services in this space.

In archive there is work to be done to leverage the API set that these offerings have. For example, I would like to tag an item on archive with specific metadata. Ideally, I could indicate retention time and redundancy prior to initiating the archive. Depending on where the cloud archive is in the stack depends on who provides this.

As for distribution or collaboration, they seem to be more of a service provider offering at this point. They typically utilize one of the cloud infrastructure products from a host of providers like the aforementioned Nirvanix or Bycast but also Mezeo and Parscale or one of the more "system-like" approaches of EMC Atmos or Cleversafe. Also look for cloud specific offerings from the more traditional archive, scalable storage companies like Permabit or Nexsan as well.

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