Cloud Series: Introduction

The cloud is rapidly becoming the norm for data storage

Despite the pandemic hindering numerous industries, cloud service providers have thrived. Cloud archiving solutions have been increasingly popular as countless workers operate remotely, relying on remote access to documents and collaboration apps.

Notably, IBM, who is notoriously slow to advance on trends, has announced that they are divesting from their on-premises storage to dedicate themselves to the cloud. Moreover, across the board, cloud storage providers like Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud are financially prospering.

Consequently, cloud services are slowly becoming the industry standard for data storage. It is our aim through this series to shed light on this digital transformation as it affects aspects of the enterprise. Specifically, we will touch on themes of privacy and security, organizational structure, and Big Data and analytics.

On-premises, cloud, and hybrid storage are the three virtual data storage systems

However, first a proper understanding of virtual storage options is required. Namely, the three virtual data storage systems are on-premises, cloud, and hybrid. In which on-premises is when a company’s servers are housed locally on-site and are maintained internally. Whereas cloud storage is when a company stores its data through third-party providers who maintain the servers. Hybrid, aptly named, is when a company chooses to combine methods, storing their cloud data partially on-premises and partially at a secondary location. Most newly founded companies start on the cloud; whereas older companies must deal with their past on-premises storage in order to move to the future of the cloud. These legacy systems are, in part, responsible for the growing popularity of hybrid storage among existing enterprises as it bridges a path forward.

Within the cloud there are different types of storage facilities and approaches to data management

Another core concept is the different cloud storage facilities available to enterprises—private and public clouds. Private cloud facilities are ones in which the data stored there belong to a single company; notably, private clouds can be on-premises or at a separate location. In contrast, public clouds are storage facilities in which multiple companies store their information collectively. Markedly, while the data may be stored at the same location, each company will only have access to their own information. Directly comparing the two, public clouds are more affordable, have increased user access, and require less personal maintenance; while private clouds are more adaptable and customizable, tend to be more secure, and have higher performance.

Further, there are three approaches to cloud storage: (I) selecting a single service provider in either a public or private cloud, (II) using a single provider in a hybrid approach utilizing both a private and a public cloud, or (III) using a multi-cloud strategy in which a company stores their data across multiple cloud service providers. Using multiple clouds, be it via a hybrid or multi-cloud approach, allows companies to selectively place data in clouds that are best designed for their granular needs; however, a consequence of doing so is the silo-ing of data which makes enterprise-wide searches and overall data management more cumbersome.

With these differences in mind, we will explore the ways storage options, different cloud systems, and cloud approaches affect aspects of enterprise as CIOs and IT leaders navigate the costs and benefits of cloud transformation.

Follow the rest of ZL Tech’s cloud blog series for more insights on how cloud transformation will affect enterprises:

  1. Introduction (this post)
  2. Privacy and Security
  3. Organization Structure
  4. Big Data Analytics

A graduate from Kalamazoo College, Martin Hansknecht serves as a marketing associate for ZL Tech. He gets his Midwestern charm from growing up in the mitten of Michigan, his East Coast work ethic from his time spent in NY and D.C., and his European fashion from years living in England, Germany, and Hungary. Now he is looking forward to absorbing that innovative West Coast mindset!