Trading bandwidth for infrastructure when moving to the cloud?

Considering moving to the cloud? Have you worked out the cost models? That's the question that needs hammered out first. IT guru Rick Vanover breaks down the trade-off between infrastructure and bandwidth.

Simply speaking, if you are going to move to the cloud with anything there will likely be some sort of bandwidth change required. I believe that one of the easiest entry points for a cloud solution is a storage offering that functions as a data protection mechanism. The challenge is, is the bandwidth available to transport significant amounts of data to the cloud?

Products are now available that have data protection to the cloud. One example is Commvault’s Simpana cloud-enabled integration. This allows administrators the ability to transfer data protection tiers to a choice of cloud providers. Figure A shows this new feature with the current product: Figure A

Figure A

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Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept. The issue is how much can we push through the wire to the cloud storage provider? Sure, the data is deduplicated and encrypted, but what kind of connectivity do we really need to transfer the data outbound to the cloud?

One of my colleagues in the blogosphere, Greg Ferro of Ethereal Mind even confirmed one of my suspicions in a recent Twitter post. Greg came to the conclusion that a cloud solution ended up costing twice what it would have compared to running in-house. While every cloud solution is different, it gets me thinking – what about the bandwidth? Providing 50 or 100 Megabits for outbound Internet connectivity has been more than enough for most workplaces up to this point. But, the moment a storage transfer is rolled into the mix – things change substantially.

Further, what about the initial load? Does it make more sense to only start with a select footprint of new systems? Depending on many factors, the initial transfer of a data protection mechanism could be in the Terabytes.

With all of these concerns, there are opportunities. It would be nice to retire all tape devices in the enterprise. This, of course, is depending on your interpretation of data at rest off-site. Does cloud storage meet this criterion? If your tape drive is in a warehouse, you can’t go physically to the location and inside the vault to retrieve the device. How does a cloud storage provider differ from that? In previous posts on cloud computing, the TechRepublic community has not been shy to point out the loss of control with cloud solutions.

Does data protection appeal to you as a cloud solution? If so, how would you use it? Please share your comments below.