Every year, our friends at ESG post results of their annual Spending Intentions Survey, indicating where many businesses are likely to spend their IT dollars over the coming year. Recently Steve Duplessie posted an article on his blog entitled Cloud – The Cost Containment Strategy that concludes cloud has finally “crossed the chasm” in IT. According to preliminary data, cloud represents the largest % projected spending increase for 2012 IT initiatives– a very exciting turn.
Truth is, cloud storage addresses long-standing IT priorities, with three of these priorities topping the list nearly every year:
- Improving backup and recovery: Tapes and offsite backup continue to be a struggle and do not offer the reliability or recovery times that many businesses demand. Moving off-site backups to the cloud improves the recoverability of backups without tape or dedicated infrastructure. Moreover, it offers the choice of leveraging existing backup software or modernizing backup software and processes.
- Managing data growth effectively: As capacity grows, storage array life cycles mandate adding, replacing and decommissioning storage arrays whenever they run out of capacity, all involving considerable capital expense and internal administration. Cloud storage can instead provide an unlimited pool of storage that is on-demand and pay-as-you-go. For the financially minded, this enables replacing capital and administrative expense with pure operating expense (opex) and near-zero administration.
- Improving business continuity and disaster recovery: For many businesses, it has become standard practice to duplicate on-site storage equipment expenses to build out a disaster recovery facility. For others, it may mean skimping on disaster recovery because of the high costs. Cloud storage enables turning disaster recovery expenses into opex while maintaining recovery time objectives that rival dedicated solutions.
So what is the challenge for cloud becoming an initiative for businesses? Let’s think of the early days of server virtualization. Priorities such as server consolidation and reducing server hardware footprint existed well before server virtualization. However, it took some time before virtualization gained mainstream acceptance. Indeed we may be in the midst of the same type of transition, with cloud storage moving from an adopter solution to a mainstream initiative.
What’s even more exciting about cloud storage is that it’s extremely simple for businesses to get started. Whereas traditional storage infrastructure requires a forklift to deliver and install, a software download of CloudArray and 10-15 minutes of configuration nets you Terabytes or Petabytes of secure storage capacity that’s ready to use. If you haven’t tried cloud storage, consider adding it to your 2012 initiatives.