HDS: 'Clean up' before hitting cloud

update Firms moving storage onto cloud must first get their "house in order", or existing problems will be transferred into new business model, urges CTO Hu Yoshida.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--Businesses that want to get their storage onto the cloud need to look before they leap, according to a Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) executive.

Before transitioning to the cloud, a company must first "get your house in order", Hu Yoshida, CTO of HDS, said Thursday at the IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) Distinguished Infocomm Speaker series in the island-state. "Don't transfer your problems [in physical data centers] to the cloud," he cautioned.

The stovepipe culture of IT still exists in many businesses today, noted Yoshida. Servers and storage operate as silos without the ability for sharing storage capacity, while standalone archives for different data types eliminate the ability to search across systems. These silos, he said, can be removed through storage virtualization and consolidated archive.

Ultimately, said Yoshida, business models would determine the type of storage needed on the cloud. For instance, a social networking site offering free storage would need the "lowest cost of commodity storage" while a company such as Google typically needs cache rather than storage. Software-as-a-service vendors require security on top of enterprise grade availability and performance; the likes of Amazon Simple Storage Service demand scalable, commodity-type storage.

Thin provisioning, data deduplication the new 'basic hygiene'
Businesses ought to assess their new storage purchases according to the systems' ability to address growth of unstructured data, as well as data deduplication and thin provisioning capabilities, said an analyst based in the island-state.

Speaking at the 2009 Hitachi Data Systems User Conference Thursday, Simon Piff, program director for storage research at IDC Asia-Pacific, said data deduplication and thin provisioning ought to now be entrenched in an organization's approach to managing data growth with a shrinking budget.

"Data deduplication and thin provisioning should be a 'no-brainer'," he pointed out. "[They] are just basic hygiene factors."

An inhibiting factor of such technologies, however, is awareness, said Piff. Citing research conducted in the second half of 2008, he noted a significant proportion--around 40 percent--of Singapore-based companies said they did not know about a number of storage-related technologies including data deduplication and thin provisioning.

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