6 steps for a future-ready cloud storage strategy

Growing storage demands are prompting many enterprises to move to the cloud, but ensuring that cloud storage is properly architected regarding security, performance and scalability is critically important.

Blame it on poor copy data management, compliance requirements or the internet of things (IoT), but data storage volumes are growing exponentially, and that growth shows no signs of abating. Managing skyrocketing storage demands on limited resources is a top challenge for many enterprises. To alleviate the burden, many organizations have turned to the cloud.

A survey of 451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance members illustrates the extent to which businesses are growing their off-premises storage footprint. Thirty-five percent of the 647 enterprise technology and IT professionals surveyed said are considering cloud-based storage for immediate purchase. While currently only 20 percent of storage is in the cloud, survey respondents estimate that within two years one-third will reside in either the public cloud or a SaaS environment.

There are multiple reasons for this growth. Many organizations turned to cloud storage as an efficient or less-expensive location for inactive or archived data, situations where latency and security are not of primary importance. But as cloud usage in general has grown, so too has interest in cloud storage.

However, as is typically the case with cloud, much of this growth and expansion has been on an ad hoc, as-needed basis. Many cloud migrations were a result of SaaS deployments or shadow IT, and cloud policies were formulated as an afterthought in bits and pieces. In addition, a typical SaaS deployment features little interaction with infrastructure, and the IT group's involvement is often limited to security. With the underlying complexity abstracted out to the SaaS provider, little thought is given to policy, Steven Hill, senior analyst for storage technologies at 451 Research, tells CIO.com.

The result is a hodge-podge of reactive approaches to cloud storage that has left many traditional businesses without a single strategy for managing growing volumes of critical data stored in the cloud.

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