Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The benefits of private cloud storage

Private cloud storage can offer many of the benefits of the public cloud on-premise, writes Mark Lomas. Public cloud storage services have been a useful resource for small businesses. Services like Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Citrix ShareFile provide reliable, functional resources for large and small businesses alike.

Public, off-site services aren’t the only option for companies wan ting flexible storage services, though. For various reasons, including flexibility, security, and regulatory compliance, companies may often decide to create their own private cloud storage infrastructures. These can offer many of the same characteristics as public cloud storage, while still residing on the company’s own premises.

These bring the confidence of having storage on-site, while retaining some of the characteristics of cloud-based services.

Private cloud storage provides a layer of abstraction from the inner mechanics of  the storage system. Users can simply save and go without worrying about where their information is held. This layer of abstraction is crucial for a key component of the cloud storage story: multi-tenanting.

Many users can access a private cloudbased  storage system as though it were their own, because it keeps users from seeing each other’s data. This is all made possible by something that you won’t find in a traditional Storage Area Network: the orchestration layer. This software layer controls the storage dynamically, and provides another key feature of any private cloud storage deployment: elasticity.

Dynamic provision
The dynamic provision and reallocation of resources is one of the basic tenets of cloud computing, and the same applies to cloud storage. These systems are able to adjust the amount of storage that they allocate to specific users and groups, based on what’s needed. They can reallocate storage that suddenly becomes free, meaning that everyone gets the storage they need.

This automated storage management makes the most efficient use of the underlying physical resource. It avoids leaving drives largely empty simply because they are ‘owned’ by a business department that isn’t using their full capacity.

Storage provisioning is an important part of that story. Historically, a business department may have had to go through an arduous and time-consuming process when it wanted more storage. With private cloud storage, departments can get access to the storage that they need from a virtual pool, often simply via a web interface, and often without draining the IT department’s administrative resources. Doesn’t that leave IT administrators with a potential problem? After all, if every department can simply slice off the storage that they need without thinking about economising, then it could lead to resource hogging and cost over-runs, even with private cloud storage.

Not necessarily. One of the promises of cloud computing in general is solid, detailed reporting. In a well-deployed private storage system, IT administrators can source storage usage metrics for individual users or departments. This kind of reporting enables them to treat business departments like internal customers, and potentially cap heavy resource users by setting limits.

With these kinds of flexible services available, private cloud storage may make perfect sense for companies who value efficiency and who want that little bit of extra control over their storage infrastructures.
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