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Enterprise Storage Strategies

Stephen Foskett

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Top Stories by Stephen Foskett

Ocarina's Carter George continued the conversation on backups, asking if the conventional backup paradigm was obsolete, and if file copies could serve the same purpose. As mentioned in our "What Is a Backup?" post, this is the same question posed by EMC's Scott Waterhouse recently. Putting Copies To The Test George suggests a copy-based scenario: "Why not just move files that are candidates for being backed up to a separate tier of storage, keeping them as files in their native format, and organizing them in time coherent views?" To determine whether this is truly a backup, let's apply our new rules to determine when a copy becomes a backup: A copy is, by definition, a copy of a set of data. This copy is not mentioned as being protected or offline, which worries the IT admin in me. Could they be overwritten or corrupted? Would they disappear along with the primary data... (more)

Is a Private Cloud Worthwhile?

Much discussion in the cloud computing world has focused on a simple question: Is a private cloud infrastructure worthy of the name? It's been posed in many ways, with some going so far as claiming that there is no such thing as a private cloud. Although discussions like these are all too common in many areas, the question really amounts to little more than counting angels dancing on pin heads. The key issue is whether private cloud-style infrastructure can deliver real benefits like public clouds can. First, let's set out some definitions: The draft NIST definition, perhaps the ... (more)

What Makes Cloud Storage Different from Traditional SAN and NAS?

Many in the IT industry seem to enjoy arguing exactly what does and does not constitute a cloud service. As I mentioned in my post on the controversy over private cloud services, I do not feel that these arguments are productive. We should focus on results and business value instead of arguing about semantics. However, the current crop of cloud storage solutions have many important differences from traditional SAN and NAS storage, something that seems to surprise many end users I meet. Cloud storage capacity is not your fathers blocks and files! Primary, Secondary, and Tiered St... (more)

Cloud Storage: To API Or Not To API

As discussed last week, cloud storage solutions differ in many ways. They can be defined by their pricing model (usage-based or capitalized), their location (on-site or off-site), the granularity of scalability (per-file, standard unit, or per-system), and whether or not they are multi-tenant. But one of the less-discussed but much more technically-challenging differentiators lies in the access method: Some cloud storage systems use a web protocol-based API for access, while others use conventional storage protocols like NFS or SMB. Today we will discuss the implications of which... (more)

Can Spot Pricing Work For Cloud Storage?

Early Bird Savings at Cloud Expo This week, Amazon took a step with EC2 that many had long anticipated: They announced spot pricing for cloud compute instances. EC2 customers can now name their own price, and Amazon will bring compute instances up at variable discount prices according to these "bids". This complements their March 2009 move at the other end of the spectrum, extra-cost reserved instances. This evolution of the cloud compute market was predicted by many, but Amazon deserves credit for making it happen. The obvious next question is whether spot pricing can work for c... (more)