Cloud Storage Requirements – Part II

With many inquiries following our recent Cloud Storage Requirements: Performance May Only be 5th on Your List of Needs blog post, we decided to take this topic a step further and break down, explore and elaborate on the most frequently asked questions and requirements our customers listed as pivotal in choosing our solution for their Enterprise cloud storage.

We asked our customers and users (both in the public cloud as well as those licensing our software for private clouds, on-premise solutions and service providers) to share with us their perspectives, and to elucidate their business’ and application’s foremost cloud storage needs.

Here are their top 8 cloud storage requirements:

1.    Is the storage easily configurable and self provisioning?

One of the first and foremost features users seek when deploying applications in the cloud, is a self-provisioning system that is easily configurable, and can be set up and launched as quickly as possible. Customers want a storage service that doesn’t require a steep learning curve, and allows them to leverage the most features in the shortest amount of time. We’re proud and delighted that our customers can create a complete virtual SAN storage array in the cloud, in under 90 seconds, including all the features, tuning and control they are familiar with from traditional storage, but with inexhaustible scalability, and only a 1 hour commitment!

2.    Is it highly available?

Mission critical apps need High Availability, and Enterprise reliability needs to be around “five nines” (99.999% availability) which means no more than about 5 minutes of downtime per year. At Zadara Storage, we actually think the cloud can provide 100% availability when used correctly. Our architecture provides each Virtual Private Storage Array with dual Virtual Controllers, customer choice of RAID level and true clustering and shared storage. Furthermore, we partnered up with Sanbolic’s Melio data management software to provide our customers with Microsoft® SQL Server® High Availability in the cloud.

3.    Can I use NFS and iSCSi protocols to access my storage?

NAS and SAN arrays are the benchmark of on-premise Enterprise storage. When deploying applications in the cloud, whether public or private, customers seek a cloud solution that can support existing architecture and mission critical needs without needing to re-architect their applications. Our Cloud Block Storage and Cloud NAS allow customers to deploy their existing apps in the cloud, without needing to re-design applications.

4.     Can I develop true Clusters?

Storage and networking limitations in the Cloud are a known obstacle for clustering and true High Availability for critical databases, applications and commerce services that demand minimal downtime and a continued service even when components fail. Clustering is dependent on various elements such as multiple servers, shared storage, application failover, and persistent reservation. Partnering up with public clouds and software partners such as Sanbolic Melio, Zadara Storage allows the mapping of a single volume to multiple cloud servers, for the purpose of application clustering.

5.    Is performance consistent and do I have noisy neighbors to contend with?

Storage performance is an essential feature of any Enterprise cloud storage, and the challenge of clouds being a multi-tenant cloud infrastructures, is that noisy neighbors disrupt performance owing to the fact that multiple users and applications share the same resources. Zadara Storage’s software-defined solution ensures Quality of Service and a single tenant experience by providing each user with dedicated hardware and resources, including dedicated hard-drives, memory and CPU.

6.    Is my data secure?

Surveys reveal time and again that security and data protection concerns are the top barriers to cloud adoption. Cloud security requires multiple layers of security: from the physical storage infrastructure, to secure communication, identity management, data encryption and user keys. At Zadara Storage we pride ourselves for having architected security into our system and software from the ground up. With multiple layers of security, our customers can enjoy full, end-to-end data privacy and protection, from Zadara’s physical storage infrastructure all the way to customers’ Cloud Servers, including data-at-rest and data-in-flight encryption.
Learn more about our security and encryption: Zadara Storage Security Brief

7.    Is performance something I can control?

High performance can be essential, and applications that require dedicated performance for certain tasks, may require twice as much performance for another, or none at all during downtime. Controlling storage through RAID, CPU, memory cache, disk types and spindle speeds, allows customers to have full control of performance IOPS and throughput to scale-up on performance on need or save on costs when performance is not required.

8.    Is it easily modifiable?

Agility is the cloud’s most formidable attribute, and as such services must provide businesses with solutions that allow them to capitalize on this quality for a competitive edge. When it comes to storage, cloud storage needs to be agile – it needs to accessibly scale, shrink or terminate on a minutes notice. Our software allows not only consistent modification, but managing tools that provide a continuous in-depth overview of all storage array usage, performance and capacity, helping to make insightful modification decisions.

While many businesses are still deliberating the cloud, or examining its possible models, we wanted to talk to real customers who are solving their Enterprise storage needs in the cloud today, and hear what they identify as the critical essentials and imperative features, on both storage and the cloud fronts alike, when choosing an Enterprise-class cloud storage solution for their real business challenges.

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