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Are enterprises ready to embrace cloud-based file storage?

An expert explains the trends that are pushing enterprise information into the cloud.

A number of factors are encouraging enterprises to consider the cloud for file storage. First, organizations are...

realizing that maintaining their own data centers is too expensive. Cloud vendors are introducing new architectures that change the traditional model of how files are stored. Microsoft Azure, for example, has no storage-area networks; it's all local storage and it uses commodity servers. This kind of architecture points to changes that organizations should adopt -- or at least consider.

When we think about long-term file storage, there is an attractive quality to moving files into the cloud because data centers are becoming extremely expensive and complicated to maintain. In the end, there's a class of content that just makes more sense to be stored in the cloud. More companies will start moving those files to the cloud, purely for economic reasons, based on considerations like long-term storage.

Unquestionably, the cloud has become a component of enterprises' information management strategies -- and not just storage, but also computing power. Vendors may need to change the economic model around their software packages. The traditional on-premises-installed software, managed by the customer, now presents a huge number of support challenges. Moving that software to the cloud, controlled by the vendor that produces the software, is much more supportable.

Vendors like Oracle, Microsoft and SAP are targeting almost purely cloud-based architectures going forward, which forces enterprises to consider that they won't be able to buy that software anymore and install it in their data centers -- they're going to have to move to the cloud. That forces the conversation. In some cases, it may be less than ideal for the customer, but they might be given little choice.

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It's unthinkable that any organization wouldn't be cloud-based at this point. Just the savings in terms of management and hardware requirements alone make it worthwhile.
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As long as issues like latency and response time are mitigated, and security protocols are established to block prying eyes, it makes sense to move file storage into the cloud, especially if the cost of rental of services is less than cost of ownership of literal servers and their necessary infrastructure.
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From Microsoft's Q3 earnings report. They seem to be making progress on the non-critical files/storage:









“As customers move to our cloud, it enables us to deliver even more value and push for new growth by entering new categories. Information protection is a great example where we have done this because of natural synergies with our existing services. In fact, nearly 20 million people already use our new premium information protection capabilities in Office 365. That's a tremendous validation of how the cloud accelerates the adoption of new workloads and grows our ability to monetize new value in the $10 billion information protection market.”


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While its easy to understand the overhead costs of maintaining a data center owned and managed by organizations themselves, we have to focus on the security of the data.  In the US, so many companies have experienced data breaches in the past couple of years.  And those breaches have been at a high cost - to the company value, reputation, and future growth.  So it would seem logical that companies must first ensure a deadbolt locked security within their data before they can go to the cloud completely or even at a majority.
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