Ask any a CIO to explain SaaS today and he or she will have a lot in mind to talk about. What if you ask IT Admin like me?
Storage As a Service(SaaS) is just one of the model of the Cloud computing. Don’t assume this as one of your IT Suppliers who put “at a service”on the end of pretty much every technology available, to the extent it all becomes rather meaningless.
Today i will strictly talk about cloud storage, its has competitive benefits as a platform for innovation and its implications.
The key benefit of of cloud storage is the ability to pass on the cost and headache of buying and managing storage to a remote third party, so providing a flexible storage resource you pay for as you use. But, the remote nature of cloud storage is also its key weakness because access to the cloud is choked by bandwidth constraints and latency.
The suitability of the cloud storage for your environment depends on the type of the data you want to outsource. There are different types of cloud services on different data types namely:
Primary cloud storage
The type of data in primary cloud storage includes the Database application and the document editors which modify data directly. With this type of data access there is need for low latency and high bandwidth. There may be a need also for local hosted cache servers for example those provided by windows server 2008 through brain-caching. This helps in easily offline retrieval of files hence saving most of the bandwidth usage and synchronizing in background to the cloud primary storage. There are various vendor who include Nasuni which offers global file access via a local appliance, the Nasuni Filer, accessible via CIFS, NFS and iSCSI, and is aimed at remote and branch offices. It includes Active Directory integration,snapshotting, compression and deduplication. There are so many primary Cloud data solutions available which examples are Nirvanix Hybrid Cloud Storage and Panzura’s Cloud Storage Controller.
Nearline storage is data you don’t need to access right now but which needs to be available within a reasonably short timescale; maybe hours or minutes rather than millisecond. Nearline cloud storage usually involves local storage appliances much like those used for primary storage, but using slower disk technology. The technology used in nearline storage may offer shared storage and folder synchronization with devices which support NAS, iSCSI and SATA caches. Two examples of cloud provide which offers Nearline storage services are TwinStrata’s CloudArray, Ctera Cloud Attached Storage and many more.
From my perspective this is among the most embraced SaaS cloud solution. This is due to high rise need for an offsite backup hence making easier for the cloud consumers to embrace it. Cloud backup allows you to keep backup costs in line with projected backup data growth. You can set and forget after the initial installation, with agents taking care of the backup process and monitoring performed via a web portal. Kindly note that not all cloud backup use agents. Bandwidth will always be a restriction; however, so large or complex backup sets will be more efficient using a store-and-forward technique. This involves backing up at LAN speeds to local disk, which then synchronizes with the cloud back end, a technique that helps shorten the backup window and means that restore requests from a recent backup can be serviced locally. There unending list of examples of Cloud SaaS backup solutions provider. There are factors which you may consider while selecting your SaaS backup provider which include: ability for a snapshot, compression and deduplications, platform independent backup and restoration, kind of back up which the provider system support, cost and many others factors which i may have missed. The kind of backup that the provider system may support may include: incremental, differential and full backup.
Here are few examples: Commvault Simpana, HP Data Protector 7.0, Tivoli Storage Manager and many more.
Archive cloud Storage
Longterm data storage is also one of the longest established SaaS cloud services. Archived data is still needed but is not part of the active working set, and so can be moved to a cheaper medium to reduce storage costs. Features that a cloud storage solution for an archive should provide searchability, retention management, auditing, and application integration such as the ability to retrieve old emails.
While high latency and bandwidth limitations are less critical for infrequently accessed data, data portability and the longterm survival of the service provider can be issues.
Examples of commercial Archive Cloud storage providers are: Amazon glacier, EMC Cloud Tiering Appliance and many more.