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Data Optimization in Cloud Storage
The crucial technology that will provide service providers with the greatest cost reduction is data optimization
By: Wayne Salpietro
Feb. 19, 2013 09:45 AM
The promise of "the cloud" is that cloud storage delivers users seamless "just in time" storage scalability to handle growth and quickly respond to peak loads. The economics and business impact of cloud storage also delivers a compelling financial proposition in today's budget constrained IT environments. To the IT consumer shifting what was a capital expense and a fixed cost to a variable cost operating expense is financially compelling. Additionally, the ability to function in a "just in time" mode versus a "predictive" model for consumable storage also changes the CAPEX impact further assisting in justifying an already strong value proposition for adopting cloud storage.
IDC forecasts that cloud-based storage will represent a $15.6B market by 2015 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. They also predict 10,000 service providers will focus on cloud storage with a data protection emphasis. The economics of this market transition will continue to evolve and accelerate as costs of delivering cloud services are optimized by service providers that become more efficient - ever mindful of the cost of their plant/facility, operating expenses and business margins.
The crucial technology that will provide service providers with the greatest cost reduction is data optimization. Data optimization incorporates deduplication, compression and thin provisioning technologies that maximize storage efficiency. Data optimization is the most significant innovation in the storage industry, enabling organizations to save more information in a smaller physical footprint. Nowhere does the fundamental concept of storing less data dramatically change economics more than for providers of cloud storage infrastructure.
When applied to the cloud, data optimization is a disruptive technology. It increases storage efficiency on a 5X to 35X scale. In cloud storage environments the impact is simple and compelling. For a data mix that yields a 5X boost to storage efficiency, costs drop to 20% of what they previously were. In addition, reductions in floor space, power and cooling and manpower all significantly improve operating efficiency. With a clearly differentiated value proposition the disruptive nature of applying data optimization enables the service provider to grow their business by gaining market share at the competitor's expense.
Data optimization's impact on storage consumption in the cloud or in the data center yields operating efficiency and critical business advantages;
Industry analysts, well aware of the impact of continued data growth on IT budgets and the rapid adoption of cloud storage, continue to observe the impact of how data optimization significantly increases IT efficiency and recommend data optimization technologies for all phases of data storage from primary through to the cloud.
At a recent Gartner Conference, one of the keynote speakers was adamant that throwing hardware at the problem of rampant data growth will not work. His view was that IT needs to optimize storage capacity consumption with virtualization, data deduplication and bandwidth optimization. I found this to be quite a contrarian view since the platform vendors have dominated the dialogue in IT informatics. Here was a keynote speaker saying hardware is not the answer to managing the data glut...it's a software fix that we need. Later in the event another session, another speaker, and data deduplication was raised as "emerging as a top opportunity to positively impact data growth because of its ability to reduce the amount of data consuming costly storage." Additionally, the discussion also evolved to include the "green impact" of reducing the amount of data which in turn impacts floor space, power and cooling consumption. Seems that deduplication and data optimization is a win-win.
In the case of cloud storage, the first storage systems vendor to bring cloud storage products to market with integrated data optimization technology will gain a huge advantage in the rapidly growing cloud service provider space. In addition, their products will become deeply entrenched into the cloud provider infrastructure because they reduce storage costs and increase overall operational efficiency.
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