Making the Right Choice for Hybrid Storage
The cloud is fundamentally transforming information technology. Businesses in every industry are looking to cloud-based services to augment or replace traditional on-premises IT systems, and facilitate digital transformation.
And most of those companies are pursuing hybrid cloud approaches—63% of enterprises, in fact, according to this IDG survey. That makes sense, as on-premises storage isn’t going to go away; but the usefulness of cloud storage is too great to ignore any longer.
As you consider pursuing (or expanding) your hybrid storage plans, go in with your eyes open. There’s a lot of static out there, and separating the signal from the noise takes careful preparation.
Let’s start with the basics: what is hybrid storage, and why are organizations using it? Simply put, most hybrid storage environments combine conventional on-premises storage solutions (NAS/SAN/DAS) with public cloud storage solutions. Let’s take a look at some popular hybrid storage use cases.
Cloud Backup and Recovery
Backing up data to the cloud is far more cost-effective than backing up data to a secondary data center. It’s also much faster and more efficient than using tape and offsite vaulting for backup and recovery. These are just a couple of the ways cloud storage can help you save money and improve recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs).
Long-Term Data Retention
Cloud storage provides inexpensive, efficient, and reliable long-term data retention. Increasingly, businesses are required by law to maintain customer records and financial data for years. Compliance violations can result in legal actions and stiff fines.
Cloud storage provides a fast and simple alternative to traditional long-term data retention approaches. To start with, it eliminates manual intervention and retrieval delays, allowing you to move data to the cloud automatically, based on business rules. And some next-generation cloud storage services enable access to your archived data immediately (what the industry often calls “active archiving”), with no expedited retrieval fees.
You can archive infrequently accessed data to the cloud, thus reclaiming expensive on-premises storage capacity and better aligning storage costs with data value. Studies show that 80 percent of data is rarely accessed within just a few months of creation, but most businesses retain dormant data alongside active data on expensive on-premises storage platforms. This inefficiency can really cost you in the long run.
You can use third-party data archiving applications to automatically move dormant files to the cloud. By moving infrequently accessed data to the cloud, you can conserve on-premises storage capacity and avoid expensive hardware upgrades. You can also shrink backup images for better RPOs and RTOs.
Once you’ve decided hybrid storage is worth investing in, the next question that naturally arises is, “What hybrid storage is best for me?” To answer that, you first need to understand how storage tiers work, since this is what most (but not all) cloud storage providers offer.
Tiered storage segregates capacity for different types of data. The problem is that it can get confusing in a hurry.
First-generation cloud storage providers offer tiered storage services that can be confusing. Each storage tier is intended for a specific type of data, and has distinct performance characteristics, service-level agreements (SLAs) and pricing plans (with complex fee structures).
While each vendor’s portfolio is slightly different, these tiered services are generally optimized for three distinct classes of data:
- Active Data. This “live” data is readily accessible by an operating system, application, or users. Active data is frequently accessed and has stringent read/write performance requirements.
- Active Archive. This is occasionally accessed data available instantly online (not restored and rehydrated from an offline or remote source). Examples include backup data for rapid disaster recovery, and large video files that might be accessed from time to time on short notice.
- Inactive Archive. This is, as the name implies, infrequently accessed data. Examples include data maintained long term for regulatory compliance. Historically, inactive data is archived to tape and stored offsite.
A Dizzying Array of Choices
Identifying the best storage class (and best value) for a particular application can be a challenge with a legacy cloud storage provider.
Microsoft Azure, for example, offers four distinct object storage options: General Purpose v1, General Purpose v2, Blob Storage, and Premium Blob Storage. Each option has unique pricing and performance characteristics. And some (but not all) of the options support three separate storage tiers, with distinct SLAs and fees: hot storage (for frequently accessed data), cool storage (for infrequently accessed data), and archive storage (for rarely accessed data).
Is your head spinning yet? With so many choices and pricing variables, it’s nearly impossible to make a well-informed decision and accurately budget expenses. If you could eliminate those tiers, it would simply your life, wouldn’t it?
The Simple, Inexpensive Choice for Hybrid Storage
That’s where Wasabi comes in. They believe that cloud storage should be simple. Unlike legacy cloud storage services with confusing storage tiers and convoluted pricing schemes, they provide a single product—with predictable, affordable and straightforward pricing—that satisfies any cloud storage requirement. You can use Wasabi for any data storage class: active data, active archive, and inactive archive.
Wasabi hot cloud storage is affordable, fast and reliable cloud object storage for any purpose—including hybrid storage. Unlike first-generation cloud storage services with the confusing storage tiers and complex pricing schemes already discussed, Wasabi is easy to understand and cost effective to scale. One product, with predictable and straightforward pricing, supports virtually every cloud storage use case.
It’s a single storage tier, and it’s all “hot storage”: it’s not relegated to the molasses tier that takes hours or days to retrieve. It’s all waiting for you, on demand.
You may think that kind of performance would be expensive. You’d be wrong. Wasabi hot cloud storage costs 80 percent less than AWS. You read that right—80 percent less than AWS storage.
And it gets even better. Unlike AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure, Wasabi doesn’t impose extra fees to retrieve data from storage (egress fees). And they don’t charge extra fees for PUT, GET, DELETE or other API calls. The savings start piling up.
It’s a compelling offering, to be sure. Simple, cost-effective, single-tier hybrid storage for your precious data. What’s not to love?