A Slice vs. the Whole Pie: Cloud Gateways ≠ Cloud-integrated Storage
Cloud storage is clearly seeing tremendous growth and adoption across all segments of business and government customers – from mid-market companies to large enterprises and state/federal government organizations.
A key enabler to enterprise adoption of cloud-based storage services is the emergence of premise-based storage systems that integrate cloud storage with existing applications.
Across these cloud-enabling storage systems, there are some capabilities that are similar – such as the translation of cloud storage APIs like SOAP or REST to block-based storage protocols such as iSCSI, as well as de-duplication and compression for performance and capacity optimization.
But there *are* core differences between products that are merely “gateways” and true enterprise storage that is fully integrated with the cloud (an ESG report and Taneja Group report calls them “cloud-integrated storage”).
What are those key differences? I’d put them into 3 major categories, and why each matters to customers:
1) Primary enterprise storage vs. just cloud proxy for backup/archive data
Example: StorSimple solutions provide full primary storage capabilities – up to 100TB of on-premise storage capacity with auto-tiering to SSDs, SAS + cloud, etc. – to enable primary storage for enterprise applications
Why Matters: you can converge your on-premise primary storage + backup/archive infrastructure with the cloud, saving 60-80% overall TCO – not just port data to the cloud for backup/archive, and limited savings
2) Integrated data lifecycle management with the cloud vs. simple proxy of data to the cloud
Example: StorSimple uses application-consistent Cloud Snapshots to provide snapshots locally and in cloud for backup, archive and DR – all without requiring 3rd party backup software
Why Matters: you can eliminate your backup software and support costs; gateways still require you to purchase backup software + support + licenses
3) Disaster recovery and business continuity – cloud-integrated storage enables premise-based applications to directly mount cloud volumes and access needed blocks directly
Example: StorSimple solutions can mount their Cloud Snapshots in the cloud and enable premise applications to access only their needed objects in minutes or hours, vs. cloud gateways which require download of the full cloud volume, which can takes days/weeks to complete
Why Matters: pretty obvious – RTO is radically improved, as is business continuity…
In short, cloud storage is here to stay, and cloud-enabling storage systems will only help to accelerate that adoption. But storage teams need to dive deeper into products and architectures to understand the full spectrum of benefits – and savings – they can get from leveraging the full pie of cloud services + cloud-integrated enterprise storage vs. a single slice of a cloud gateway.