Everyone knows the mind-boggling rates at which we're creating data. We've all heard industry commentators telling us the world is creating more data in ever decreasing periods of time. As such, infrastructure administrators can be forgiven for thinking the storage headache doesn't feel like it’s going away any time soon.
Many of our customers facing this pressing dilemma have turned to us for advice, asking; how do I stop buying so much storage and have some sort of contingency for growth? It's for this reason that we're increasingly introducing the concept of integrating cloud storage services with local storage requirements. Whilst the immediate pressure is often capacity, improving this can't come at the expense of performance. The public cloud offers great potential for both lower cost storage and on-demand compute for our business applications, however while the latter often requires careful assessment, planning, and re-engineering to “cloud-ready” applications, the former is far more accessible and useable by any organisation looking for an off-site storage location.
The stage is set
That's why we've found Hybrid Cloud Storage from Microsoft to be such an appealing solution. Using an on-premise Microsoft StorSimple appliance your data is stored and then automatically tiered depending on its usage. Regularly accessed data remains in super-fast tier one SSD storage, whilst warm and cold data is moved through to SAS disk and eventually cloud storage in Azure, Microsoft's cloud. As data moves through this process it is deduped, compressed and encrypted, whilst all data, regardless of where it resides is snapshotted for DR purposes and remains easily accessible for users. Should you ever lose the appliance, a virtual appliance can be created in Azure and only hot data returned to the your new on-premise infrastructure. This means recovery time objectives, post-disaster are also dramatically reduced and negates the need for an expensive recovery facility. All of this wizardry is made possible by the software running on the appliance and its connections in and out of the Azure cloud.
The public cloud offers great potential for both lower cost storage and on-demand compute for our business applications, however while the latter often requires careful assessment, planning, and re-engineering to “cloudy-ready” applications, the former is far more accessible and useable by any organisation looking for an off-site storage location.
Working in this way means organisations enjoy all of the economic advantages of cloud storage and the benefit of 'set and forget' policies for administration and back-up, combined with the performance advantages of local storage for your most heavily accessed data.
The upshot is that managing storage in this way can deliver savings of up to 60% compared to conventional on-premise storage infrastructures. What’s more the on-premise appliance is actually free as part of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for Azure storage.
Overall, Hybrid Cloud Storage is an attractive proposition for the vast majority of companies who handle datasets largely composed of tier two application data like Office documents, or SharePoint data. Accordingly, it provides a great answer to the challenge of on going storage, retention of archive data or simply so you never need worry about running out of capacity again.
StorSimple on-premise appliances come in two sizes - 15TB or 40TB. Whilst there is no scope to upgrade these systems, there are lots of options surrounding the mix of SSD and SAS drives that make up the capacity.