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Symform: 2012 Cloud Storage Predictions - Data Domination


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

2012 Cloud Storage Predictions - Data Domination

Contributed Article by Margaret Dawson, VP of Marketing, Symform

Petabytes and Zettabytes. Who knew? As we enter 2012, we are adding these words to our everyday vocabulary that at one time seemed far away from reality. But in this coming year, the amount of data we are creating and need to manage, secure, access, backup and analyze will become almost overwhelming. IDC says Zettabytes by 2020, other analysts predict an even faster arrival of that milestone.

2011 was truly the year of the cloud, virtualization, and business intelligence. You could not escape these three areas at any conference, IT departmental meeting or analyst pow wow, and they have become a mainstream part of our IT conversation, along with SOA, integration and much more. We also started to see big data creep into every cloud debate, along with Hadoop, NoSQL, and others.

In 2012, data will dominate the conversation. For some, this is truly a "big data" issue, and for others, even if there isn't a word for it, it's still a whole lot of data. With this data surge continuing into the Zettabytes, we will also see related trends in 2012 around storage, cloud computing, green data centers and IT reform.

2012 will mark the beginning of a "storage revolution"

Local storage, at least until the floods in Thailand, became remarkably cheap last year. As Moore's Law continued upward, prices of disk drives moved the opposite direction.  A USB drive with less than 2GB or a NAS box with less than a couple TB is now a joke. Cloud storage, on the other hand, did not follow that pattern. While a 2TB external hard drive could cost you between 50 to 100 bucks, storing the same amount in the cloud could cost thousands a year. In 2012, this will change, as businesses of all sizes demand cloud providers or storage vendors to bring the cloud costs down to earth. Data growth will also force the big storage players, like EMC, to finally really get the cloud, and if they are smart, start offering customers a seamless integration of on-premise and offsite storage and backup solutions. 

Cloud computing's ‘green' data center will be debunked

One of the greatest benefits of using public clouds, we hear, is not only improved economics for the user, but a smaller carbon footprint and greener approach to computing. While data center technologies are absolutely becoming more green through higher efficiencies, better power utilization, virtualization and other advancements, the premise that cloud computing is helping drive the green data center is bunk. We are seeing data center sprawl at record rates, as companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon build out massive global infrastructure to power their cloud-based services.  And the big guys aren't alone.  Co-location providers, telecom providers, local data center services and cloud vendors of all sizes are building out data centers. Recent reports show Google continuously exerts 250 million watts of energy from the servers behind its cloud. That is enough to power all of Salt Lake City. Today, data centers account for 14 percent of all carbon emissions, and the EPA estimates that data centers and servers account for two percent of power in the U.S.  These numbers will continue to grow, unless businesses can identify new means for storing data without building additional data centers. Perhaps we can learn from Skype or SETI and turn to distributed computing models that leverage the unused capacity in the world's servers and data centers.

Will we finally stop debating private versus public cloud?

Unfortunately, no. I wish we would, but based on the environmental argument above, as well as myths I won't get into here around data protection, network security and control, it seems unlikely. However, I do think many companies are going to start caring less about where the infrastructure sits behind the cloud platform and focus more on creating and managing trusted networks across environments, both cloud and on-premise. This conversation is not so different from ten years ago when we were talking about remote access to our networks. At this time, network administrators realized that the old "castle and moat" security model wasn't working, because there truly was no way to lock down the network and prevent holes in the firewall, while still enabling the business. With the so-called "de-perimeterization" of the network, the focus was on access to and protection of the data. So, the perimeter moved inward and security was designed to protect applications and information employees and others needed to access easily. The same is true for the cloud: see the cloud as an extension of your on-premise infrastructure and holistically architect your model to ensure data security and secure access to that information. Think of this as taking the concept of SOA to the cloud, where you have central governance for federated services with controlled access, built-in integration and reporting/analytics. Yeah, it's still mostly a vision, but there are creative CIOs and companies moving in this direction.

I think we can all agree that astronomical data growth is going to continue into 2012. The real question is how we are going to deal with it. Companies who have shied away from the cloud until now will find it hard to continue to be laggards, as the cost to manage, store, and archive that data will become untenable. Same is true for those who have insisted on only building out private cloud environments, as public cloud solutions continue to lower costs and provide best practices around security and controls. And in terms of making the cloud greener, we can only hope other providers don't follow Facebook's data center build out in the arctic to save on cooling. Big data pales in comparison to iceberg melt. I feel a bad joke coming on involving icebergs and the era of "Bronto-bytes" - but let's save that for another time.


About the Author

Margaret Dawson is the vice president of marketing at Symform, a company revolutionizing cloud storage.

Published Monday, December 12, 2011 6:15 AM by David Marshall
Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 4, 2012 7:07 AM

I'd like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the start of 2012! As we begin what will certainly prove to be a fantastic new year, I wanted to make sure to thank all of the loyal member's and readers of Once again, with the help

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