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Strategy, Cloud, Mar 02, 2021

What are key considerations for businesses adopting Cloud Storage Solutions in 2021?

David Moss

Security, availability, auditability, usability, and supportability are all fundamental considerations when designing a cloud storage solution, but how do businesses ensure that successful adoption and maximum business agility are attained?

Articulating a systematic use case

The first step is to consider the business need, motivations, and target outcomes for your cloud storage strategy. Articulate the 'why' before determining the 'how' and any measures of success.

Often businesses state the mantra: 'to reduce cost, enhance resiliency, and reduce technical debt' as main drivers for adopting a cloud storage solution, adopting an 'IT as a cost centre' mindset. However, this fails to consider the wider picture.

To maximise business agility, revenue potential, and increase adoption success, businesses need to seek out and understand the opportunities and competitive advantages that a cloud storage strategy can provide. What can you gain from a cloud storage solution and how will it work in reality? In the world of data, businesses who succeed in staying ahead of the pack understand their storage goals and are aware of the challenges and opportunities that such a move will present.

Read next: Transforming your organisation to succeed with Cloud - Part 1

Defining a tailored storage strategy

When assessing and designing your cloud storage model, keep in mind that not all data is equal and not all cloud storage solutions are equal. Your storage solution is one component of your cloud solution, so it is important to consider the following:

  1. Security: How will your solution integrate with Cloud Identity & Access Management (IAM), use of encryption key management system (KMS), audit logging setup and domain-restricted sharing?

  2. Business use cases: What are the existing and future scenarios that your model will need to support? Are there legal and regulatory requirements?

  3. Innovation: How fast can you build and tear down an environment in a safe manner? Which APIs can you take advantage of?

  4. Analytics: What insight can you obtain from your storage model? How will your business respond to usage analytics?

  5. Automation: Which tasks can be automated to reduce bottlenecks, manual errors, and effort? What storage policies need to be set for backups and archives? How will data be moved from hot to cold tiers?

  6. Storage Scalability: How will your model scale up and down with different types of workload demands?

  7. Skillset: Who will design, build, and maintain the solution? How will this impact the existing support model?

  8. Data Categorisation: What kind of data tiering policy will you adopt? How will this adapt to changing business needs?

  9. Data Governance & Lifecycle: How will you track where data is stored? Who owns it? How will you ensure that the data remains accurate and how will be it safely deleted when no longer required?

  10. Data Transfer & Parallel Workloads: What sync direction, schedule, encryption, and compression technique is best? Do you have concurrent processing options?

  11. Storage on Edge Devices: How can you use edge locations to reduce network capacity requirements and enhance application performance?

  12. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): What is the overall cost of your strategy when you consider the additional costs?

Looking to the future, and with machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence becoming increasingly more mainstream, robust data management and storage platforms that can leverage cloud-native tools are a necessity. The leading cloud vendors - AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP - are increasingly ramping up their capabilities in these areas and this will continue to be a business and architectural point of discussion.

In a nutshell

Our architects are pragmatic and understand that the path to adopting a cloud storage solution needs to be tailored to the needs of the business. To further mitigate adoption risk, we often advise our clients to conduct an early pilot to build momentum and consider implementing a stepping-stone hybrid cloud model in order to leverage the benefits of cloud and on-premise storage solutions.

If you would like to discuss any the above topics in more detail, please get in touch with one of our cloud experts.

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