Overcoming Emerging Storage Issues

Blog Continuity Data Wednesday 29th March 2017 • 7 min read
Billy Law-Bregan, Communications Officer

Overcoming Emerging Storage Issues

There are a number of concerns about hybrid cloud storage, especially when it comes to customer owned storage. Customers want to be able to make use of everything that public clouds can offer, but also want to comply with data sovereignty regulations.

Storage is the pivotal issue

The critical problem with hyperscaler-based resources is that compute resource are typically short-lived and, other than saving a record of configuration, compute can be created, destroyed, and changed with relatively little impact.

Data by comparison, is immutable and must be preserved intact. This creates major problems when changes are required within IT infrastructure.

This affects all types of business, large and small when needing to move data from one vendor’s products to another, upgrade or move to or between cloud providers.

Movement of data in large amounts is arguably one of the single biggest issues facing businesses today, because an inappropriate choice can have severe consequences in the future.

Let’s look at some of the storage issues that could very well affect your business.

Emerging Problems

Data Sovereignty

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a UK located facility, which should, in theory, address concerns regarding the National legislative framework under which data is stored and accessed. However, it remains to be seen whether customer data will be assured to stay within EU (and shortly National) boundaries in the unlikely event of site outage.

Data Security

Cloud service provides generally contract to preserve your data “as it is”. There is no inherent mechanism to rollback data stores (from snapshots for example) in the event of “soft” failures such as malware or even malicious destruction. Neither is uptime assured to the same level as expected in a traditional Data Centre based on hardware storage.

Data Movement Costs

As data accumulates with cloud service providers, either as as deliberate relocation of corporate resources or as a result of so called “shadow IT”, the potential cost and time penalties for moving those data elsewhere is building up. Typical data egress costs will incorporate data quantities with the storage not optimised for bulk movement.

Cloud Integration

There are limited solutions from storage vendors facilitating corporate data residing both on premise, within multiple clouds (for resilience), and within cloud based storage appliances. As a result, there is often an element of vendor “lock-in”, whether this applies to the storage provider or the cloud provider. A further problem is that, currently, only one vendor is approved for private storage integration within AWS facilities (NetApp).

Development Operations (Devops) Costs

Even with hyperscaler usage, development often calls for large datasets to stress and evaluate solutions. Creating the data stores within hyperscalers often incurs monthly charges, and to properly assess performance, requires a higher tier of storage. NetApp Private Storage (NPS) allows rapid deployment of cloned datasets which can be created /destroyed on a daily or even hourly basis. This is a feature of NetApp storage rather than NPS but with Node4, the feature rich capabilities of NetApp may be consumed as a storage service (NPSaaS).

NetApp Private Storage

NPS frees customers from the impact of the above problems…and more besides.

Combined with Node4’s industry leading integration skills, NPS enables businesses to make the most industry-leading public cloud providers like AWS, Softlayer, and Microsoft Azure whilst maintaining free movement of data, delivering real business benefits.

NPS empowers customers to change cloud providers, use multiple cloud providers, and integrate with NetApp virtual storage appliances implemented within the cloud or on-premise. Here are some examples of the possibilities.

• Customer owned NPS provisioned to AWS or Azure and managed by Node4
• NPS delivered as Storage as a Service provided by Node4 and provisioned to AWS or Azure
• NPS replicating to customer on premise NetApp storage
• NPS replicating to customer on premise NetApp Virtual Storage appliance (NetApp Cloud ONTAP)
• NPS replicating to AWS NetApp virtual storage appliance (NetApp ONTAP Select) with cloud provisioned storage (S3 for example)

Note that with the exception of the last item, none of the scenarios above lock customer data into a hyperscaler environment. Customers can locate primary and backup data precisely where the business case dictates, matching costs to actual needs rather than technical constraints.

Node4’s NPSaaS

NPS as a Service separates hyperscaler cloud compute from data via high-speed interconnections to multiple hyperscaler clouds. The technology enables businesses to benefit from private, secure tenancy from NetApp storage but use multiple hyperscaler compute provider in a unique, secure way. Direct links make it easy to switch cloud services in seconds without migrating data.

You can start small and scale up as your business grows, adjusting your compute and storage resources in line with your business needs.

Why Node4?

Node4 are the only UK based provider to offer NPS either as a managed service for the customer’s own re-located NetApp storage or to provide NPS wrapped into a Storage as a Service (SaaS) offering.

Unlike the major hyperscaler providers, Node4 does not implement punitive data egress charges upon change or cessation of storage services.

Node4 utilises NetApp exclusively for cloud service provisioning with a proven track record of flexible service delivery based on real customer needs rather than fixed service catalogues.

Node4 delivers the deep level expertise to drive down costs of hyperscaler integration to dramatically lower levels than with off the shelf hyperscaler offerings.

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