Mark Lomas, IT Consultant, Probrand
For small businesses, public cloud storage services like Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business and Citrix’s ShareFile are trusted, functional resources relied on by large and small business alike.
But these public, off-site services aren’t the only option for companies wanting flexible storage.
Whether it’s for agility, security or regulatory compliance, companies have several reasons for creating a private cloud. Storage infrastructures like these provide many of the benefits of public cloud storage while offering the added reassurance of keeping company data ‘on premise’.
Providing a level of abstraction from the inner mechanics of the storage system, private cloud storage lets users ‘save and go’ without worrying about where their information is held. This is crucial for one specific key component of the cloud storage story: multi-tenanting.
It allows multiple users to access the storage system as though it were their own and prevents users from seeing other peoples’ data.
Made possible by the orchestration layer – something you won’t find in a traditional storage area network – this dynamically controls storage, providing the key benefit of elasticity found in cloud storage deployments.
One of the most basic tenets of cloud computing is the dynamic provision and reallocation of resources – and this is exactly the same for storage in the cloud. Based on how much capacity is needed by specific users and groups, these systems are able to adjust the amount of storage allocated. This storage can also be reallocated should it suddenly become available, meaning everyone gets the storage they need.
This automated process of managing storage is the most efficient way to control the underlying physical resources – and avoids leaving drives empty simply because they are ‘owned’ by a business department underusing their storage capacity.
In the past, a business department may have had to go through arduous, time-consuming or bureaucratic processes in order to get more capacity.
Private cloud storage gives departments access to the storage they need from a virtual pool, often managed via a web interface – and all without draining their already stretched IT department’s administrative resources.
But doesn’t that leave IT administrators with a problem? If every department is able to simply slice off the storage they need without having to think about being economic, then surely resource hogging and cost over-runs are a possibility?
Not necessarily. Cloud computing in general comes with a promise of solid, detailed reporting. A well-deployed private storage system allows IT administrators to source storage usage metrics for individual users or departments – giving them the reporting tools possible to treat business departments like internal customers and potentially cap heavy resource users.
If flexibility is a priority, private cloud storage may make perfect sense for companies who value efficiency and control over their storage infrastructures.