Although about 65% of business data is still stored on local storage devices, more and more enterprises are migrating more data to cloud storage, which promotes the significant growth of cloud storage market.

How big is the cloud storage market? It is predicted that the global cloud storage market is growing significantly: from $18.9 billion in 2015, it is expected to increase to $112 billion in 2022. The explosion of data is one of the main reasons to promote the change of IT infrastructure. In the past few years, the data of many enterprises has increased significantly, which also promotes the growth of cloud storage market.

Key driver: cost

Cost is still the main driving force driving the cloud storage market: including savings in capital expenditure (capex) and operating expenditure (OPEX). At these two levels, the price of cloud storage is usually very favorable.

Capex: achieving high scalability at a reasonable cost is a major advantage that cloud storage can bring to enterprises. If you want to expand at the same scale in the data center, it departments often need to invest a lot of money to buy new machines. Specifically, linear scaling technology is required not only to improve performance and capacity, but also to frequently migrate data to new storage and continuously upgrade large-scale infrastructure. Using cloud storage is relatively cheaper and much simpler.

OPEX: the advantages of cloud storage in saving operating costs may not be obvious. Cloud can indeed save operating costs, but the growth of data will significantly increase cloud storage and management costs. For example, the more data you store in the cloud, the more you pay for capacity, data migration, custom SLAs, data protection, and customer support.

Other drivers

Most of the data growth in the cloud comes from secondary workloads, that is, large data sets that need long-term storage. So far, secondary / long-term data accounts for the largest proportion of all types of data in cloud storage. As for the main data – often used smaller data sets, they usually exist in the cloud file sharing environment.

Specifically, the other three driving factors for the growth of cloud storage market are as follows:

1. Backup and recovery

Backup is a very common cloud storage application scenario. Many enterprises will migrate the backup deployed locally to the cloud. Some of these enterprises will use traditional backup methods to retain backup data on backup servers, tapes or other devices, retain these data for weeks or months, and then migrate them to cloud storage.

More and more enterprises begin to use cloud storage as the main backup, which is directly backed up to the cloud through the cloud gateway. Some cloud backup services also provide more functions, such as keeping a copy of high priority data locally for immediate recovery on demand.

Cloud to cloud backup is also an important use case. Many enterprises may not realize that few cloud service providers will automatically back up SaaS data. SaaS providers and their virtual machine services focus on the persistence and availability of the system, and long-term backup is usually not in their basic plan. SaaS users need to invest in advanced services or third-party backup to protect their SaaS data.

Recovery is as important as backup. The possible challenges of recovering data from the cloud are generally related to how to ensure that cloud service providers comply with your enterprise RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective). However, many leading cloud providers often provide their standardized SLAs, and do not want to customize SLAs for each customer, let alone refine them to a certain application. SLA customization is usually an advanced service, which will increase your cost, but it can ensure RTO and RPO.

In order to minimize the complexity of managing cloud backup and recovery, many companies will consider choosing MSPs (managed service providers) that provide backup and recovery as a service. Ideally, MSP will provide you with a variety of options for backup software and cloud hosting. You can decide what is best for your application.

2. Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery will also affect cloud storage and its cost. Application and data failover need to be continuously replicated to cloud service providers. In addition to increasing the expenditure of failover services, it will also increase your storage space. However, despite the increased costs, cloud based replication failover services can help you achieve your application availability goals. Like backup and recovery, many companies are choosing MSP and disaster recovery as a service.

3. Filing

Archiving is to save inactive data, that is, cold data, in cheaper storage, and enable users to access data in their applications transparently. The so-called active archive storage is built for more frequent users and saves costs through more economical storage.

Due to serious latency between the cloud and end users, cloud based active archiving may not provide the performance required by users. Cloud providers and backup / archiving software manufacturers are investing in Wan acceleration technology and encouraging customers to buy more bandwidth for cloud storage and computing efficiency. With such dependence, cloud based active archiving may also become a common use case.

Constraints

Although the cloud storage market will continue to grow, there are also some factors that will restrict the market development to a certain extent. If these problems can be fully solved, cloud storage will be recognized by more enterprises more quickly.

·Security: different from the past, security is no longer the main problem at present. More organizations believe that their cloud providers will better protect their data. However, users still need to conduct due diligence on the security of cloud providers. Understand encryption products, key management, user access control and multi tenant security architecture.

·Compliance: after this problem is solved, it is likely to drive huge growth. Enterprises can sign contracts with cloud providers to make them promise to comply with relevant regional regulations. It should be noted that cloud customers are still responsible for the data stored in the cloud.

·Complexity: even if you work with only one cloud storage provider, you may use various subscription services to support various workloads and manage different SLAs, including using different management portals. You may also build a multi cloud environment – working with different cloud storage providers is a wise decision because it allows you to maximize cost savings and optimize workload, and avoid vendor lock-in and data migration problems. However, cloudy does increase the complexity of management.

·Cost: as mentioned above, enterprises can save costs by migrating to cloud storage. However, if the goal of cost saving is above all else, then the significance of it does not exist. It is reasonable to budget other services, such as customized SLAs for RTOS and rpoS, replication and failover services, and third-party backup of SaaS data.

·Wan speed: Wan speed is another major challenge for companies looking to increase digital coverage. Delays affect the speed of backup, restore, archive, and failover services. Both cloud providers and software backup providers provide Wan acceleration technologies. How to use these technologies is very important. However, enterprises still need to buy higher and more expensive bandwidth.

Most importantly, enterprises should understand their data storage needs for the cloud and find the best cloud provider to meet these requirements. We should fully consider the multi cloud strategy and cooperate with MSP to obtain expert support in the promising but complex enterprise cloud storage field.

Responsible editor: CT

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