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CloudSigma Predictions: 2013 - Meeting Cloud Growth Forecasts Demands Innovation

VMblog Predictions

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013.  Read them in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Robert Jenkins, CloudSigma CEO

2013: Meeting Cloud Growth Forecasts Demands Innovation

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the fastest-growing segment of the $109 billion public cloud services market, according to Gartner. But, in order to keep the momentum of the past few years going in 2013 and infiltrate industries that had once been hesitant to adopt the cloud, vendors will need to find new ways to innovate and address lingering issues in public cloud environments; the two primary innovations we will see in the year to come will be around cloud-based storage performance and cloud-based disaster recovery capabilities.

Improved Cloud-Based Storage

It's no secret that storage bottlenecks are one of the biggest challenges in the cloud. And, recent growth in large-scale virtual deployments has only exacerbated the issue with a surge in the amount of random input/output (I/O) operations between VMs and traditional, magnetic-based storage systems. Such storage systems are not suited for the randomized, multi-tenant access of a public cloud and, therefore, cause massive performance bottlenecks. This is especially the case since magnetic storage products struggle to process the thousands of I/O operations per second required from a public cloud;  they force today's powerful CPUs to wait until the I/O transactions have completed, thereby holding up data access, resources and performance.

In 2013, now that the cloud has become a reality for a majority of businesses, this has to change. Already, there are predictions surfacing around the growth of cloud storage in the years to come, showing a heightened focus on this vital aspect of cloud computing platforms. In fact, IDC predicts that combined spending for both public and private cloud storage will reach $22.6 billion worldwide by 2015. But, what's the solution? How will we see cloud-based storage improve in 2013 and beyond?

Two main improvements will surface in 2013 to address this question: implementing solid-state drive (SSD) storage solutions and improving networking capabilities.

Firstly, by transitioning away from magnetic-based storage systems and to SSD storage, cloud platforms will effectively get rid of the CPU wait time for I/O bottlenecks. Combining this with a multi drive-to-server model of tiered storage allows for significantly improved system performance as eliminating CPU wait time results in better resource utilization and therefore throughput, increasing price/performance. Additionally, since SSD storage doesn't have physical moving parts like magnetic storage solutions, it can handle the more random nature of I/O loads in public cloud environments, while sustaining a higher level of performance without slowing down. SSD based storage systems therefore allow for significantly higher I/O bandwidth with lower, more stable data access latencies. What's more, in 2013, the availability and cost of SSD solutions will become increasingly competitive as it becomes a more viable and widely accepted (and demanded!) option.

In addition to SSD storage solutions, cloud vendors will increasingly start leveraging 100GigE networking to offer premiere storage in the cloud through reduced latency, faster I/Os and greater throughput. The push to reduce latency through the use of 100GigE networks is important; it will ensure no networking bottlenecks while sustaining high SSD data transfer rates, and its reduced latency is essential for making network storage the predominant form of storage for public cloud environments, and raises the bar for cloud-based storage performance. As 100GigE networking uses standardized protocols, it can be implemented with the flip of a switch to offer instantaneous higher performance and bandwidth to customers as a public cloud grows, something that will be critical servicing industries where speed is pivotal, such as the financial sector.

Effective Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Whether because of storage bottlenecks or other reasons, when the cloud first hit the mainstream, many still shied away from it and felt more comfortable housing their mission-critical data in their own data centers. But, now, as clouds become more flexible with greater performance reliability, we will increasingly see companies using the cloud as a major component of their disaster recovery strategies. And, by choosing a cloud vendor that places no restrictions on existing software, organizations can now easily mimic their own data center in the cloud to seamlessly manage their disaster recovery process while leveraging the cloud's innate HPC capabilities.

When Hurricane Sandy recently rocked the East Coast, many companies were left without power, unable to deliver their services to customers and end users around the world. For some industries, the outage was simply an inconvenience, for many others, it was an outright travesty, but, for everyone, it was a wakeup call to the importance of having a sound disaster recovery plan in place. But, could that plan include the cloud?

According to a recent survey from Taneja Group and InfoStor, only 29 percent of companies surveyed are already protecting their data in a public cloud, but another 58 percent have plans to move at least some of their data protection to the cloud in the next 6-24 months. This shows promising traction for cloud-based disaster recovery trends - a strategy that Hurricane Sandy brought to light for many around the world. Indeed, while many physical data centers were left without power or access to data during Hurricane Sandy, the cloud stayed up, unaffected by the massive flooding or high-speed wind and rain, making it a very attractive option to industries like finance and e-commerce that rely on near-constant uptime for their business to succeed.

So, as public cloud IaaS services reach their 45.4 percent growth predictions for 2012, it will be high-performing, cloud-based storage and disaster recovery that help propel it to be among one of the foremost compute platforms in 2013 and beyond. When combined with a flexible, customer-centric provider that leaves the reins in the hands of the user, the public cloud won't be so scary a place, and even the most data-sensitive industries will see its silver lining.


About the Author

Robert Jenkins is the co-founder and CEO of CloudSigma and is responsible for leading the technological innovation of the company's pure-cloud IaaS offering. Under Robert's direction, CloudSigma has established an unprecedented open, customer-centric approach to the public cloud.
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 6:35 AM by David Marshall
Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 15, 2013 6:59 AM

First, I'd like to personally thank everyone for being a valued member and reader of VMblog! Once again, with the help of each of you, VMblog has been able to remain one of the oldest and most successful virtualization and cloud news sites on the Web

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