Is Hybrid Cloud Transforming the Storage Industry?

By Paul Andrews | April 2, 2015

Unless you are living under a rock, the term “cloud” means a lot to you – and if it doesn’t mean a lot to your infrastructure yet – you are at least considering how it should. Reasons for reluctance are being outweighed by the benefits and the general wave of adoption that is crashing over just about every IT professional these days. Fear of missing the mark on security and compliance requirements are being quelled with reassurances and new standards.

Storage is feeling a big impact by this groundswell. When an IT department is noticing their own staff is resulting to personal cloud services for shadow IT purposes, it typically becomes pretty apparent that a change is needed to keep up with the times and remain relevant in the internal resources offered.

IT personnel and individuals are interested in cloud for storage purposes for a variety of reasons:

It makes critical data so much more accessible. One can literally access it from anywhere and at any time.

It is much easier to maintain. Storage equipment requires upkeep. The cloud, well, does not. This is desirable when you factor in all the other day-to-day tasks that seem more important.

It is economically expandable. The on-demand agreements that cloud services fall under are also desirable in an age where business is unpredictable. With cloud storage, you can use what you want, when you need it, on your own terms.

Machines can malfunction. While security is a big mindset hurdle to get over with cloud services, there is some sense of security that critical information is protected and backed up, and if your storage equipment fails, it still lives in the cloud.

After reading all these benefits, it’s easy to understand why adoption is really picking up these days. The cloud is no longer hype – it’s real, the benefits are proven, and for the most part, the majority of kinks are worked out, or being worked out.

So how is the traditional storage world reacting? Well, there will always be a place for traditional storage. We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world. Traditional storage companies are continuing to play up their strengths to stay relevant – and there are a lot of very large corporations out there who will take a long time to convince that cloud has a place in their infrastructure. Traditional storage promises regulatory compliance – the knowledge that the most critical data is following the rules and meeting the standards. They also realize that, just like traditional storage companies in the beginning, there are cloud services companies that will not make it – they will have to stop service and businesses and consumers will be inconvenienced by that. Fair enough.

The one way that both cloud services and traditional storage companies are truly differentiating is by innovating on top of their storage solution – layering in analytics and big data capabilities, whether its building it or partnering with companies to do so – and ultimately making the value beyond just storing data, but making that data smart. Otherwise, cloud and traditional storage services and products have a home in different ways at different companies.

If you are a larger company or one that is less likely to make big changes to your traditional storage arrangement, be aware of what your employees are doing with your data. If you are seeing an uptick in IT staff leveraging shadow IT cloud services, you might need to consider altering your strategy, even slightly, to appease this natural instinct by the staff. If you are a younger company, or one that embraces change and innovation, you might already have a full hybrid cloud-based storage strategy. Don’t rule out the traditional storage players. There might be a place where storing data traditionally makes more sense, either from a security, accessibility, or cost perspective.

The bottom line? Cloud and traditional storage can co-exist. It is up to you to do your research and understand its place in your organization – don’t just follow the pack, but also, don’t be afraid to try new things in your storage infrastructure.