In a previous post, we detailed a fascinating new survey on cloud adoption, released by Gigaom Research and North Bridge Venture Partners, which surveyed 1,400 tech buyers and IT decision makers. We learned that 72 percent of respondents reported having adopted Software as a Service (SaaS), 56 percent adopted Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and 41 percent adopted Platform as a Service (PaaS), and further, over the next two years two-thirds of survey respondents expect their data will reside in some form on the cloud. As with all technology – there are always the early adopters, those who test and hype the technology, but in reality the idea is still too young and they are a few years ahead of mainstream adoption. We are definitely past those early-adopter-only years, but most IT buyers and decision makers are still nervous or unsure how to implement the cloud in their own environment.
Rightfully so – there are many factors and stipulations to take into consideration when putting cloud to work for your data. From a data storage perspective, we’ve detailed these considerations in the past in our posts on “Choosing Cloud or Traditional Storage” and “Archiving and Storing in the Cloud with Markley Group.”
As a hybrid cloud provider, we are very aware of another consideration that many organizations do not consider as they start to experiment and implement full-on cloud solutions: compatibility. Think of all the varying cloud services that employees might use for personal or professional data storage: Amazon, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, Basecamp, Salesforce – there are more choices out there, too, and in many cases it’s a matter of budget, scale capabilities, or simply personal preference. But how do these services interface with each other and with traditional storage options? Further, what will these services evolve into and what can we expect as users? Each cloud service wants to offer something different than their competitor (differentiation is the name of the game in a crowded market,) but when the services differ vastly in features and functionality, it can be difficult to move or migrate data from one to the next.
From an organizational perspective, this will result in needing multiple cloud service providers to satisfy various business needs – which can work out well, or be disastrous, depending on the organization. To avoid ‘lock-in’ it helps to have an organizational standard and go-to for cloud services and storage, and to future-proof that standard as best you can. Prioritizing data and computing is an important first step and helps to realize what cloud services are needed for specific functions – the more definition the better. Here are some tips to help categorize business needs and avoid compatibility issues when choosing cloud services:
Have a general sense of how much data will be in the cloud in one month, six months, to two years, so you can plan ahead from a cost perspective
Know your budget per terabyte of data
Know your data - understand how critical each set of data is and how it might affect the level of cloud security required
Know how frequently you need to access that data as many cloud services have access charges
Hopefully, if enough planning is done ahead of time, you will understand what you need from your cloud services and ensure that your data can grow with that solution. If you aren’t confident of the future of your data and its place in the cloud, be confident that the cloud service you choose is malleable with other cloud services and that the charges to move data are not overly expensive.