Recently, I attended an event focused on cloud storage that gave me a clear vision of my first potential cloud solution for mainstream IT. Selective-tier storage is one of the best areas in my opinion to consider a cloud candidate initially. This does not necessarily mean that your trusted file server is going to be elevated to the cloud, as the popular cloud storage solutions are API-driven and requires a different approach. The API interface may seem an obstacle at first, but I beg to differ.

The traditional data protection landscape that internal IT staff uses to backup servers and workstations is an area I want to watch for an easy candidate to go to the cloud. This is because the data protection programs will support uploads to cloud storage providers soon, if they don’t already. A quick check through press releases of common products will show that this is clearly in the roadmap. One provider, CommVault published this release that sets the framework for offline vaulting locations.

Besides backup and restore packages, another good candidate would be email vaulting. Depending on who you ask, you may have to retain email data forever! While disk is not expensive, storage management is very expensive for most environments. A cloud storage provider is a natural candidate for this storage, with proper controls in place. This includes encryption, which most cloud storage providers have tiers of encryption from the user security keys and on the disk system itself. There can also be additional encryption on the backup set from the locally managed backup policy. This is critical for compliance considerations for data that may contain compliance sensitive material.

These two examples are further solidified as good examples due to their access patterns: frequent writes and very infrequent reads. For the write operations, some cloud storage providers provide local managed caching for write operations to maximize the experience. The Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network is one example that can implement managed write caching with the CloudNAS device.

When “drop-down” access to cloud storage with your backup software of choice is made that easy, the path becomes clearer. Concerned about the cloud storage provider going under? Have your backup software sent to two cloud storage providers. These are options that I see mainstream administrators having in the foreseeable future. Do you see this working for your data protection strategy? Share a comment below.