Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Survey: Private-cloud storage tops IT’s to-do list

More signs are pointing to the benefits of the private cloud in the enterprise. Credit: Dirk Ercken Storage professionals showed increased interest in private-cloud storage this year, reflecting how cautious enterprises remain about keeping data in public clouds, according to a recent survey from TheInfoPro, a service of 451 Research. The trend is altering the cloud-solutions market as demand for private clouds help storage vendors compete with large public-cloud providers, researchers said. Private-cloud storage, also called internal-cloud storage, runs on a dedicated infrastructure in the data center, offering the same scalability benefits of public-cloud storage while addressing security and performance concerns. More cash for clouds Interviews with 260 storage professionals working for large and midsize enterprises in North America and Europe provided the basis for the findings. For the purposes of the study, large enterprises have at least $1 billion in revenue, while midsize enterprises have annual revenue between $100 million and $999 million. The survey, which was conducted earlier this year, identified private-cloud storage as the second most likely technology to be added to storage budgets. A separate study released in August by market research specialist Vanson Bourne similarly found that 60 percent of enterprise IT decision makers have moved or are considering moving applications or workloads either partially (41 percent) or completely (19 percent) to private clouds. Respondents from the United States and United Kingdom cited limitations of the public cloud or benefits of other platforms as reasons for considering the private cloud. Flash mostly used in hybrid storage Other findings released last month by TheInfoPro survey included: Storage capacity is more than doubling every two years, exceeding the rate of Moore’s Law. Solid-state storage, or flash storage, is mainly being used as part of a hybrid solution for enterprises, with 37 percent taking that approach, compared with only 6 percent for all-flash arrays. Decoupling storage hardware from the software controller presents a promising opportunity for vendors selling software-defined storage, as only 31 percent of respondents viewed coupling as “very important” or “extremely important.” Architecting for performance is often reactive, as 48 percent of large and midsize enterprises have no specific IOPS (input/output operations per second) targets for applications. Object storage, which forms the basis of storage solutions offered by service providers, is still mostly seen as a compliance solution, revealing a misconception, researchers said. “There are two major forces working on storage today — solid-state transforming storage architectures in data centers and software-defined storage transforming provisioning and capacity choices,” said Marco Coulter, vice president of TheInfoPro. “As enterprises move from solution designers to service brokers, the conversations with business partners are evolving from bits and bytes to services and APIs.”

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