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Over the last several years, enterprise IT leaders have become very enamored with the elastic nature of Cloud. Many enterprises have jumped in feet first to take advantage of the seemingly economically attractive cost model.
As cloud platforms and cloud usage matures, the initial shine of cloud has worn off, revealing a slightly different set of economics and dynamics, stymied primarily by performance and the “lowest denominator” feature sets.
At the same time, IT leaders still needed the flexibility and agility offered by elastic computing and elastic capacity. This has caused a change in the thinking with IT architects. With all major vendors espousing the necessity of a hybrid cloud model, CIOs look for solutions that match the enterprise features, reliability and performance, but at a cost point that is significantly lower than making capital investments in on-premise solutions. Additionally, CIOs also needed a way to manage their infrastructure in a consistent manner between on-premise and in-cloud solutions.
The virtual server market is mature. Features such as vMotion from VMware and Live Migration from Microsoft are well understood for applications. But the underlying data and storage layer poses a more difficult challenge, especially with the performance differentials between on-premise and in-cloud capacity. Depending on the amount of data, there is also latency when moving data from on-premise to the cloud and back. Finally, there is the issue of data consistency, especially as it relates to large relational databases.
To combat the issues illustrated above, IT leaders must first invest in cloud storage capacity that performs at a consistent and reliable performance, comparable to on-premise storage. Virtual storage pools offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) known as elastic block storage (EBS) and Windows Azure Drives simply do not offer the consistency or reliability with respects to performance. Even with AWS’ EBS Provisioned IOPS, the performance is not sufficiently guaranteed.
Until recently, block and file storage that delivers the same look and feel, deployment, provisioning and performance had not been available. With so many applications that start in the web, and migrate on-premise, the actions that IT leaders must take in relation to how they architect the infrastructure platform required to allow seamless data motion between cloud and on-premise must change.
Additionally, IT is increasingly asked to be a service provider, much like cloud compute and storage services are just that – a service. The on-premise infrastructure must therefore match those available in the cloud.
In reviewing the needs of today, storage capacity must be equal in every way between in-cloud and on-premise. The features and functions that are “table stakes” include:
- “-as-a-Service” delivery;
- Ability to be delivered in a public, private and hybrid cloud;
- Performance parity;
- Function parity;
- Disaster tolerance;
- High availability;
- Data location independence;
- Workload specific Quality of Service (QoS);
- Various cost points based on value of data;
- The ability to change one’s configuration choices without downtime or financial penalty; and
- Seamlessness between in-cloud and on-premise
This is a tall ask, even for traditional storage infrastructure, let alone parity between traditional on-premise storage infrastructure and in-cloud storage infrastructure.
Neuralytix research shows that a very small number of vendors can meet this high standard. Furthermore, we show that a leader in this space is Zadara Storage. We are particularly impressed by the “single-pane-of-glass” view of Zadara storage irrespective of data location, and the alignment in functionality between on-premise and in-cloud instantiations of the solution.
Moreover, we found that the availability of Zadara’s solution across multiple cloud service providers impressive.
Perhaps the most attractive “feature” of Zadara’s offerings is the choices it offers to its customers in terms of storage media, high-end enterprise storage features and the consistent performance for in-cloud and on-premise deployment. Most critically, the offering of iSCSI and file protocols enables IT administrators to stand-up an instance of traditional applications in the cloud without having to customize software or create kludge patches in order to support non-traditional storage such as EBS or S3.
The time to think and act differently is already upon traditional CIOs and IT leaders. Failure to address the archaic and inflexible traditional monolithic, and even modular, storage systems will result in a loss of competitiveness for the enterprise that will ultimately impact innovation.
Neuralytix research believes that the solutions offered by Zadara Storage are reflective of the direction in which IT organizations must head in order to sustain market leadership, competitive advantage and continued innovation.
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