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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