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Setting the Foundation for Cloud

You’ve heard a lot about the cloud and its advantages. But why all this hype? After all, keeping your data in house, under control, and safe is a high priority for your business. So why take the risk of storing it somewhere else?  It’s a great question.

One of the major drivers businesses are experiencing is the accelerating growth of data and content, much of it unstructured. These assets are valuable to the business–once analyzed, they can reveal intelligence and when applied to business decisions they can make a big difference to the bottom line. But volumes can go beyond the capacity of existing storage infrastructures, posing a challenge to IT managers and their budgets. The capital expenditures needed can “break the bank,” causing organizations to look for less expensive (and capital-intensive) ways to meet growing infrastructure requirements. Even if additional storage capacity was economically viable, it would have to be sized to accommodate maximum usage regardless of how much is used at any given time.

Cloud infrastructure is one way to mitigate the capacity and cost issues associated with the growth of unstructured data and content. Choosing a cloud infrastructure solution can shrink or eliminate incremental capital expenditures, and because the cloud supports a “pay-per-use” model, even operational costs can be significantly reduced. But questions still remain: Is it worth relinquishing control of my data? What service level can I count on? Will I have timely access to all my data when I need it? What if I don’t? Can I confidently and consistently meet my compliance needs?

For some customers, security and compliance concerns may prompt the decision to choose a private cloud. This choice works for many, since it allows them to maintain control over their data while building their infrastructure on a virtualized, more optimized platform and to implement a “pay-per-use” model for their internal stakeholders. They can build their own, but a more cost-effective alternative might be to work with a storage information solutions provider who can build and manage their private cloud for them. In this way, both CAPEX and OPEX costs can be reduced, and IT resources can be deployed to meet more strategic needs (such as creating new customer-facing applications).

A private cloud can therefore be a logical first step, or can be a permanent approach to dealing with your growing infrastructure needs. Regardless of the cloud delivery model you choose, or mix of models if you eventually end up with both private and public clouds, it is critical that you give high priority to choosing a cloud service provider that builds its infrastructure and services on platforms that can deliver on required service levels, and on technologies that can provide quick, dependable access to all data when and where it is needed is critical.

As with any IT-related consideration, understanding your environment and needs up front, and making the right vendor and technology choices will be important success factors as you progress on your cloud journey.

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