Optimising distributed cloud to achieve universal data availability

By David Feller, VP of product management and solutions engineering, Spectra Logic

Operating in a distributed cloud (hybrid/multi-cloud) environment is rapidly becoming the norm for most companies. According to Gartner*, more than 85% of organisations will be embracing a cloud-first strategy by 2025, and 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms (up from 30% in 2021). The pandemic was a catalyst that triggered the urgency within organisations to develop comprehensive multi-cloud strategies. Today, many businesses are managing distributed workforces and relying on multiple cloud platforms for both internal and customer-facing applications.

Consequently, achieving optimised data management for distributed cloud is a major focus for enterprises. Organisations are concentrating on what their long-term cloud integration strategies should be for distributed hybrid workflows, while ensuring all elements work together, including the integration of ransomware-resilient data storage. IT professionals are faced with an array of new challenges and are trying to determine which strategies to adopt to ensure optimum and cost-effective data management between clouds and on-premises environments.




Key considerations in advance of distributed cloud migration


Before adopting a cloud architecture and, therefore, the right cloud data management software, it is critical to consider the workflow and data storage needs of the business in question and to ascertain whether an ‘all-cloud’ solution is the right strategy. Sometimes, depending on security factors or sizes of data sets, a hybrid or multi-cloud approach may be more appropriate in the long-term. The best cloud data management software should have the capabilities to manage on-premises data as well as the ability to reap the benefits and flexibility of managing data in multiple clouds, no matter where the data has been created or stored.

When analysing the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud or on-premises solution, organisations should explore the following: How much data will be stored; how long the data needs to exist; how frequently and how much of the data will need to be restored; how quickly the data will need to be restored; how committed the organisation will be to a particular cloud vendor or vendors, and whether it has the required facilities and staff to maintain an on-premises solution.

Ultimately, whichever cloud storage approach has been chosen, an organisation needs to be able to access and protect their data, regardless of the location of where data is stored. Therefore, the ideal cloud management software should have the ability to integrate on-premises infrastructure (regardless of the kind of storage deployed locally, be it flash, disk or tape) with cloud and, in fact, multiple clouds. This should include both compute and storage, with features to set protocols for that business’ own unique requirements – all to be managed through a single pane of glass. Essentially, this would be software-based object storage, providing multi-cloud data management that would deliver universal availability, capable of ‘merging’ the on-premises infrastructure and cloud storage services into a single managed storage platform.

Mitigating distributed cloud challenges

Increased data mobility between distributed IT environments invariably increases complexity and challenges such as data vulnerability, as each type of cloud infrastructure carries its own risks as well as benefits. Public cloud has opened the door to remote access, but can carry security concerns and hefty egress fees when it comes to requests for data retrieval in large quantities. For instance, overarching cloud usage viability has proven to be economically limiting for organisations in such sectors as the high performance computing industry because of the creation, usage and archiving of enormous data sets.

The concept of multi-cloud architectures promises optimum utilisation of on-premises and multiple clouds, where workloads, applications and other resources can be stretched across them to the greatest advantage. With the right distributed cloud data management platform, as far as the user is concerned, it should not matter whether the data will be held in a public cloud, on-premises, a hybrid set-up and/or in multiple clouds, as all the files will appear in their native format. With object storage capabilities and multi-cloud data management, universal availability of data can be achieved through the unification of the on-premises infrastructure and all types of cloud storage services into a single managed storage platform, with the ability to mitigate massive fees. This will then open a new cloud world where the sharing and accessing of data across multiple clouds will be available to those organisations where it previously would not have been feasible.

Vital cloud data management capabilities

The best cloud data management software will help organisations integrate public cloud into their IT strategies while at the same time maintaining on-premises workloads. There are key criteria that should be met, such as a system that accommodates the option of multi-cloud (without the pain points of large egress fees or vendor lock-in), should the business needs change in the future; as well as modular elements that offer future-proof protection; and policy-driven storage management to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and economic realities. Ultimately, effective data management strategies enable the seamless sharing of data to accelerate business goals, no matter where the data is created or located, whether in one or multiple clouds, on-premises, or even edge locations.

Delivering on the promise of distributed cloud

Data management advancements mean that organisations can reap the benefits of distributed cloud environments, including multiple cloud services, regardless of the vertical industry and its data requirements. Optimising IT infrastructure with a policy-based data management platform capable of coordinating any combination of on-premises and cloud storage, allows organisations to embrace the freedoms of universal data availability with distributed cloud, creating new business opportunities. In addition, it allows users to focus on critical tasks while benefitting from a whole new world of cost-effective collaborative possibilities and the effective usage and monetisation of their data.

*https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-11-10-gartner-says-cloud-will-be-the-centerpiece-of-new-digital-experiences


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