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Michael Nikhamov
Chief Financial Officer
2/7/2014
Cloud Storage - Is it Really a Working Model?

A CFO’s dream: Pay-As-You-Go. It means you own your processes, NO capital investment, NO hardware, vendors and NO headache! 

Experienced executives know that when a company goes under, the SLAs, commitments, contracts aren’t worth anything. At the same time, there is a trend in the executive community to fall for new big ideas and overnight giants. Most of these brilliant ideas disappear as quickly as they arrive. 

Consider the epic failure of Nirvanix! This company shutdown within one month leaving petabytes of client’s data hanging in the air with just days clients to figure out data migrations mechanism and storage options .  

It is always painful to see important partners disappear, but our goal is to make sure these events are just hassles in our day-to-day workflow instead of total business disruptions! 

For some people these failures are a reality of today’s technology? For me, it’s not. MY business is MY data and I can’t sleep peacefully if don’t know EVERYTHING about it. I need to know where it is. How it’s being backed up? What are the DR scenarios and can my business survive a nuclear war or natural disaster? Perhaps it’s just me, but it’s the way my mind works and it keeps my data safe! 

Ultimately you can outsource any and everything but at the end of the day, the cloud provider isn’t responsible for your business’s data, YOU are.

Let’s face it, Technology does fail. You just have to be ready for it. Individual companies take reliability differently. There is no end-all way to calculate probability of total failure because each failure is unique and often unpredictable. 

Consider these examples. 

  • A vendor for off-site backups decided to encrypt backups. When backups were actually needed, the vendor lost the encryption keys.
  • We’ve seen high available, fully redundant enterprise storage devices go completely down right before storage engineers’ eyes just after a vendor’s sales and marketing reps magnificent presentation on reliability. 
  • We’ve even seen newly purchases hardware connect to LAN and paralyze the entire network segment. 

Do you really want to send your data somewhere assuming that those guys are professionals and better in technology than you are?

Perhaps your IT decisions are driven by cost savings. Understandable, but the same old argument that applies to your car applies to your data – Do you want to lease or own? 

Before trusting a public cloud provider with your valuable data, ask yourself:  Did you conduct all the necessary quoting?

While public clouds can leverage better pricing because they purchase hardware in bulk, they need to add profit margins. So the advantage of bulk purchasing is nullified by profits. Today hardware vendors will provide same “lease” like plan to own hardware. 

I am not totally criticizing cloud storage. There are applications for those solutions that Digital Edge offers too.  The difference from other cloud storage providers and Digital Edge is that we don’t sell “shared” disks. Controllers are shared by disks that are dedicated and the storage performance is a function of RAID groups. But we do not offer clients less than a RAID group, so neighboring clients will NOT affect your IO profile. 

In the worst case scenario, the client can take disks and pop them into similar storage devices. The client is made aware of the physical location of the storage. We sign a waiver that says if there is a problem - clients own physical disks that we just “spin” and support for them. We take extra steps toward proofing business soundness, technology advantage and team experience every single day regardless of 20 years of success in high tech datacenter operations. 

   

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