Thursday, 17 January 2013

Cloud storage - Is it green? Is it safe?

While cloud computing as a whole has the potential to be a greener alternative to local processing, there have been some reservations among prospective users about relying on the Cloud, particularly when it comes to storage. Some of the issues are addressed in a survey by cloud storage company TwinStrata and the results are published in a White Paper - A Snapshot into Cloud Storage Adoption.

The headline finding of the survey - carried out in the second half of 2012 at two cloud events - is that if there’s a disaster 80% of current cloud storage users believe they can recover data in less than 24 hours, with nearly a quarter estimating instantaneous recovery. In comparison, nearly one in six non-cloud users estimated that it would take more than a week to recovery their data.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly 90% of respondents either currently use or plan to use cloud storage. Cloud storage represents the greatest number of planned implementations, although both software as a service and infrastructure as a service are more widely deployed at the moment.

  • imageScalability and the need to easily manage growing storage needs were cited as the main value of cloud storage, by nearly two-thirds of respondents. A similar proportion of current users cited offsite data protection for disaster recovery as a key benefit, although only a quarter of non-cloud storage users had the same view.

  • The biggest objections to using cloud storage are around security and loss of control, cited by 48%, twice as many as for the next closest barrier.

Review:  As with the use of cloud computing generally, cloud storage has the potential to be more energy efficient than the local alternative. You only have to think about the amount of empty disk space that’s kept spinning all day long on individual PCs and servers to see that storage arrays and hierarchical storage in data centres have the potential to make huge power savings.

Of course that presupposes that the service provider has implemented these storage strategies. If using the cloud in this way is part of a green IT strategy then you need to find out.

But if the cloud storage is as energy efficient as it should be, then this survey gives support to other benefits for your IT strategy as a whole, particularly around scalability and disaster recovery. But concerns around security and control are still holding back almost half of those yet to move storage to the cloud. It will take a while to convince everyone, if ever.

© The Green IT Review

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