Why Climbing onto the Cloud Just Makes Sense

We examine the three characteristics any cloud infrastructure should have.

By Greg Arnette

Once it's in the cloud, where does it go? Are my files safe in the cloud? These questions have been circulating for quite some time. Although the cloud is by no means new technology, there are aspects of the cloud that are still unknown.

You just have to trust the solution. Analysts are already predicting that over the next couple of years, almost every enterprise will be seeking a cloud solution. Realistically, it's the easiest way to manage, and, more important, maintain your files.

On-premise servers and disk tapes require a lot of maintenance and time to search through, which can take a large chunk out of your company's wallet if there petabytes of data within the organization. The cloud is just the opposite of this. A cloud's infrastructure was created to be elastic, resilient, and simple.

Elasticity

The technology world is only going to continue to grow, creating an exponential amount of data. Even today, a small or midsize business is managing "big data." The cloud can manage this growth of storage with on-demand computing. As more data is created, cloud computing resources create more storage space for your files.

On the contrary, if you're not using or analyzing data in your archive, you can also instantly decrease the amount of storage space you're paying for. This is all done using a grid-computing model. With an elastic grid approach, a decentralized scheduling mechanism is put in place to change the amount of virtual servers needed to store data. When compared to buying server after server for an on-premise solution, the cloud is a more efficient way of utilizing your storage space.

Resiliency

Nowadays there are rules and regulations for every industry -- increasing the value of corporate data. A cloud model ensures data resiliency with a grid-computing model -- a distributed system that has workloads of large files. The grids within the infrastructure are also loosely coupled and geographically dispersed -- creating a duplicate copy of each data set. This type of infrastructure was designed to handle a large number of files -- making it an ideal structure for the cloud.

As a result of using a cloud grid-computing infrastructure, there is unmatched data resiliency in the cloud. All data is stored online, which allows the user 24/7 accessibility to their entire archive. Rather than wasting time looking through backup tapes or hiring IT services to do so, the cloud makes it quick and easy to search through all means of data (e-mail, files, etc.) at any time and anywhere.

Simplicity

The best part of the cloud is its simplicity. You couldn't receive unmatched data resiliency and infinite elasticity without the cloud's no hardware, no software model. Previously, companies bought servers and invested in on-premise archiving solutions, but as more data has been created, this process has become very costly and time-consuming.

The cloud allows you to stay ahead of the game. By implementing a cloud storage service, an organization can have its archive up and running within a matter of hours -- minutes even. A cloud platform requires no hardware or software installation and no IT services, resulting in an inexpensive pricing model. With no upfront investments, a company can spend their budget more wisely on corporate matters rather than IT maintenance and expensive servers.

As the volume of e-mail and files continues to increase, growing five-fold over the past decade alone, the amount of archiving and search solutions is increasing. On-premise systems and backup solutions can handle small amounts of data, but as time goes on, a larger, more elastic solution is needed to contain and manage such a large number of files. Enterprises need a solution that is resilient, scalable, and easy to search, which is the main reason enterprises are jumping on the cloud bandwagon -- it just makes sense.

Greg Arnette has more than 15 years of messaging, collaboration, Internet, and networking experience. He created messaging products and services starting with AlertWare and most recently IntelliReach, which was acquired by Infocrossing in 2006. Since 2006, Greg has been developing Web-based information management solutions leveraging open source technology with virtualization infrastructure. As Sonian's CTO, Greg is responsible for the company's product vision, technical innovation, and engineering leadership. You can contact the author at greg@sonian.net.
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