October 16, 2021

The Significance Of Integrated Hybrid Cloud Storage In The Enterprise

Are enterprises ready to do more with hybrid cloud storage? People need to understand how to integrate this technology and make all hardware, software, and services work effectively. 

Most businesses have some form of hybrid cloud strategy. However, many strategies are simple projects that can quickly show a return on investment.

 Applications such as backups and long-term archiving can quickly replace existing tape libraries and off-site lease vaults with cloud computing cold storage services such as AWS Glacier or Google Cloud Coldline, and quickly gain revenue. They typically replace existing storage systems that require technology upgrades with easy-to-understand services that provide a distributed, high-availability infrastructure; usage-based pricing, and built-in security inherent in all cloud computing services.

 The next phase of enterprise hybrid cloud storage development requires linking cloud computing services to existing applications to provide the extension of on-premises infrastructure. This integrated hybrid cloud storage approach requires a seamless interface between private systems and public services, and the data between the two must be continuously synchronized. The goal is to make cloud computing an expansion of enterprise capacity and provide a transition area for applications to use more advanced cloud computing databases, data warehouses, analytics, and machine learning services.

 The following is an overview of the various use cases, technologies, hardware, software, and services for integrated hybrid cloud storage.

 Application usage scenarios Gaurav Yadav, a founding engineer at distributed storage platform provider Hedvig, defined hybrid cloud storage as storage that operates in a hybrid operating environment with on-premises data centers and public cloud platforms. He describes multi-cloud storage as storage distributed across multiple public clouds, so businesses can choose public clouds based on storage needs and migrate data across these cloud platforms when needed. 

One of the advantages of hybrid cloud storage is that it enables enterprises to access complex data services, such as Hadoop clusters and Spark analytics, which may only need to be accessed a few times a year. Other integrated hybrid storage use cases include: 

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• Enhance internal storage capacity with cloud computing objects and file services to provide cold data that is accessed infrequently, while providing on-premises copies of hot data. 

• Instead, create an on-premises copy or cache of cloud-based data for low-latency on-premises access.

 • Use extraction, transformation, and loading pipelines, data warehouses, and analytics engines to feed data from on-premises systems to cloud computing databases or more advanced data analysis systems, such as the Azure modern data warehouse example.

 • Use cloud storage to sync and offload data from multiple branch locations, such as when using Azure StorSimple. How Microsoft Azure StorSimple provides enterprises with integrated hybrid cloud storage solutions. 

• Feed data from on-premises data centers to cloud-native applications and systems, such as web or e-commerce sites, content delivery networks, records management systems, and developer test / development environments. 

Of course, any infrastructure used for cloud-based applications or active file systems can equally provide the capabilities of a backup and archive system, so the following infrastructure options are a natural evolution of these cloud storage benchmark uses.

 Integrated hybrid cloud storage infrastructure options 

There are multiple ways to integrate on-premise and cloud storage, each with varying complexity, technology maturity, and capabilities. The simplest approach is to turn cloud storage into an auxiliary layer of the organization’s storage hierarchy, while the most advanced and complex approach is to effectively create a distributed storage platform across multiple environments.

 Here are four popular ways to integrate hybrid cloud storage. 

Local storage system with built-in cloud computing integration– Many enterprise storage arrays, such as Dell EMC Isilon, NetApp systems running Ontap, Cohenity, etc., often have optional features that enable them to automatically copy data to cloud computing services. Although these are commonly used for one-way backups and archives, some can support two-way synchronization, for example, allowing cloud data for application modifications to be synchronized back to the on-premise system.

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 Cloud computing cache device with on-premises file system– These dedicated hardware or software appliances are designed to on-premise mirror a portion of cloud-based data to improve application performance and availability by reducing latency and increasing throughput. Many of these products (such as Microsoft Avere products) include more advanced features such as a globally distributed network file system with a unified namespace to create a single organization file system that can span multiple branches, on-premises data centers, and cloud computing services

Cloud storage gateway– They use network storage protocols (such as NFS and SMB for NAS, and iSCSI for SAN) and block volumes to connect on-premises systems and cloud computing services. They can be implemented as virtual software running on the host virtual machine or as hardware devices acting as a proxy between the data center LAN and the virtual private cloud. Gateways often include data compression and other network optimization technologies found in WAN optimization equipment to improve performance and reduce the amount of data transmitted. For example, AWS Storage Gateway has models for files, volumes, and tapes, and can connect to S3 for object storage, S3 Glacier / Glacier Deep archiving, elastic block storage for block storage, and AWS tape backup. 

Software-defined storage (SDS) systems – A software-defined storage (SDS) system creates a software overlay that decouples logical storage configurations from physical instances. By creating a software abstraction layer, a software-defined storage (SDS) system enables file systems to transparently span multiple locations, including on-premises and cloud computing infrastructure, including AWS availability zones. Software-defined storage (SDS) systems also provide a centralized management control platform that includes a set of enterprise storage services such as deduplication, compression, and snapshots, and can be automatically migrated, replicated, and synchronized in on-premises and cloud computing environments Block roll. Software-defined storage (SDS) system products are available to large integrated IT providers (such as NetApp and VMware) and small companies specializing in software-defined storage (SDS) systems (such as Hedvig, Qumulo, and Scality).

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 Among these cloud storage integration technologies, cloud gateways and cloud-aware storage systems are the easiest to implement and most mature, and software-defined storage (SDS) systems are still a rapidly changing technology, and their products require a lot of planning and implementation and Operating expenses. They are typically used to run the virtual machines needed for management and data control platforms. 

Use and Implementation Guide 

Most businesses just start with a true hybrid storage architecture. According to the research firm Gartner, real-time, two-way data synchronization (not to mention a seamless, SDS-enabled hybrid file system) has not been widely deployed.

 For organizations that already use cloud computing for backup, the logical first step is to add storage gateways and take advantage of the capabilities in storage arrays that provide cloud computing support when available. These will more closely integrate on-premises file systems with cloud computing infrastructure and enable individuals and applications to access cloud storage services using familiar network protocols. 

For many mixed use cases, a gateway is sufficient, such as providing data to a cloud-based data warehouse or machine learning model, and aggregating remote office file systems such as user directories and remote applications to a central cloud storage Library. Enterprises pursuing an integrated hybrid cloud storage environment should first evaluate their business and application requirements, as well as the limitations or deficiencies of existing storage systems, to prioritize features and guide design. When evaluating products, it is best to use products that support standard protocols and multiple cloud computing vendors, such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, the three major global cloud computing vendors, to maximize their infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Option and avoid locking. 

Enterprises that have already commissioned a particular cloud computing vendor to provide cloud backup or other services should start with a vendor-provided product, such as AWS Storage Gateway or Azure StorSimple, as they are often the lowest cost and easiest option in hybrid storage integration.