Archiving and Storing in the Cloud with Markley Group

By Chris Kenney | June 19, 2014

Recently, many of our clients and prospects have inquired about how, when, and why to integrate cloud storage into their existing data storage strategy. It’s no secret that moving data to the cloud can be a daunting and confusing task. As most companies come to find out, understanding and deciding if and where to start can often be the most difficult part.

Here at Markley Group, we work to ensure that our clients take the best approach to their ongoing storage strategy, including helping them to prioritize their cloud data storage requirements. We determine the best strategy by taking a number of factors and requirements from the client into consideration:

What is the volume of storage? We work with customers to determine how many gigabytes, terabytes or even petabytes are needed.

How fast must it be? Markley uses various benchmarks to understand the performance measurement expectations of a client – input/output operations per second, throughput and latency.

What is their budget? Every company is different and cost requirements are a big factor when determining how to best approach cloud storage.

Are high-end features needed? Deduplication and encryption are just a few examples of the types of offerings a client might like to incorporate into their data storage plan. This can be a tedious decision process for clients and we help spell out the options based on our own industry knowledge and experience.

What compliance regulations are in effect? Depending on a client’s particular industry, compliance with various regulations such as SOC, SSAE, HIPPA and PCI could very well be a consideration. How fast would the client need to recover the data after its stored? Different recovery time objective (RTO) requirements exist depending on the sensitivity of the data or nature of the business – in some businesses, speed is critical, while in others speed is not as important as keeping costs low. What interfaces need to be incorporated into the overall strategy? Interfaces such as CIFS, NFS, REST, etc., just to name a few, will affect a cloud storage strategy.

What’s next? Markley recognizes that each client is different, so based on answers to the above questions, we then take a step back and strive to better understand the nature of the data being stored. As a next step, we work with our clients to separate performance and reliability requirements into tiers. Determining what data can be categorized as “hot” (meaning business-critical data that needs to be access quickly and frequently) and what can be categorized as “cold” (meaning the data is rarely accessed) is important. We have always prided ourselves on meeting all reliability requirements, so what remains is to categorize where our clients’ hot and cold data falls into the following performance tiers:

Tier Zero – typically only about five percent of active data, including mission critical data

Tier One – typically 20 percent of active data and reserved for business critical data, such as business apps

Tier Two – around 75 percent of data – and where most of the client’s data should live

Tier Three – cold data, which encompasses all data, especially for compliance purposes, but with lower performance and response times than the three previous tiers

Once that is done, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your storage requirements and be better prepared for setting up and maintaining a cloud storage system.

Do you have a solid understanding of your company’s data and cloud storage requirements? If you have questions, such as whether your company needs every storage tier, and how to optimize each tier, reach out to Markley Group and we’d be happy to walk you through it.

Now is the time to plan for the future to ensure your cloud storage solutions meet the needs of your organization’s growing amount of data.