Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Industrial IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo

Industrial IoT: Blog Feed Post

Everyone Should Be Skeptical About Cloud Service Providers

The truth is - although I'm not the "cloud police" - not all managed storage services are created equal

As we plummet down into Gartner's "trough of disillusionment", the cloud skeptics are making their voices heard. Although my professional focus is at the forefront of the cloud storage wave, I can not disagree with the content of articles with sensational headlines like "Cloud Storage: It's Strictly For Airheads" and "Why Cloud Storage Use Could Be Limited in Enterprises". The authors are doing exactly what everyone should be doing: Questioning the viability and suitability of cloud storage in the enterprise.

The truth is, although I'm not the "cloud police", not all managed storage services are created equal. In fact, lots of them are, to put it bluntly, not worth much. Many cloud backup and archiving services use bare un-protected disk drives to store data, have no redundancy built into the system, and try to scrape up every cent by using home-brewed hardware. This is especially true in the consumer space, where bargain-basement (or even free) pricing has driven a race to the bottom in terms of quality. No business should use junky consumer solutions.

Even service providers that presume to sell in the enterprise market often miss the mark. Forgetting the inappropriate per-month credit card billing method and laughably poor support services, many providers adamantly refuse to comply with basic corporate governance principles. Why would a business use a service that won't tell them where their data is, won't allow their auditors to examine both the processes and data centers in use, and won't stand up service level agreements (SLAs)? If your service is not enterprise-grade, you have no business selling to the enterprise! No wonder corporate folks are scared of the cloud.

Subpar offerings from flaky vendors hurt the whole industry. So let's take a look at what the business cloud storage skeptics are saying, and how the enterprise managed storage service providers can respond:

  • Data integrity is a must. Let's say you sold buckets for a living, but one out of 12 had holes in it. How long would you be in business? Amazingly, many cloud storage solutions lack both redundancy and integrity checks and use big bare disks to hold data. These buckets have holes, and data loss is a certainty. Fixing this issue is straightforward: All cloud storage should include parity protection, redundancy, and integrity checks. Business storage systems commonly use RAID to protect against disk media failures, but massive-scale cloud solutions must do even better. Cloud storage must also save multiple copies of data, preferrably automatically distributing it geographically according to SLAs. And I wouldn't be able to sleep at night without proactive integrity checking and data scrubbing.
  • Geographic dispersion of data has implications beyond data protection, though, so cloud providers must also include policy engines to drive governance and compliance. Since compliance with privacy and similar laws is based on physical location, businesses must know where their data is at all times. You can't have data growing legs and traveling, sometimes across national borders. In contrast to the old storage service providers (SSPs) of a decade ago, cloud storage systems are inherently policy-friendly. Objects, metadata, and policy-driven data management are becoming more common, enabling even better data governance than traditional enterprise storage systems. I bet your SAN or NAS system can not enforce your SLAs for geographic dispersion, keeping this data type in New Jersey and replication that other one to California but allowing only a third to cross to Europe.
  • Cloud storage services must be managed and operated better than enterprise systems, not worse. I cringed when I heard tales of the T-Mobile/Microsoft/Danger servers and SAN storage "sitting in a corner" with no knowledgeable staff, no operations focus, and a looming migration. Of course it failed! From an operations standpoint, I love that a humongous and homogenous storage infrastructure can be managed by just a few focused, educated, and talented individuals. That's what cloud storage is all about! Neglected systems have no business in production, especially at a service provider.
  • Managed services must allow auditors to verify their claims. I am a car nut, so I definitely wouldn't trust a garage who whisked my car off to an undisclosed location so unseen mechanics could work on it. I wouldn't eat at a restaurant that didn't allow the health department to inspect it. So why would I put blind faith in a managed service provider who held my critical data? Cloud vendors must perform their own security and operations audits and allow their customers to do the same. You can't pass the buck on governance: If you require SAS70 or PCI or a third-party audit, then your service providers must step up and allow it, too.

I'm mad, and I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I want every service provider to start now, protecting data, upholding policy, demonstrating operational excellence, and allowing audits. Anyone who doesn't is a disgrace to the industry, and their customers ought to seriously reconsider where they place their data. Mark me down as a cloud skeptic!

By the way, I work for a managed storage service/cloud storage provider, Nirvanix. But I'm a long-time enterprise storage consultant and would not work here if the company couldn't live up to these must-have requirements.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett has provided vendor-independent end user consulting on storage topics for over 10 years. He has been a storage columnist and has authored numerous articles for industry publications. Stephen is a popular presenter at industry events and recently received Microsoft’s MVP award for contributions to the enterprise storage community. As the director of consulting for Nirvanix, Foskett provides strategic consulting to assist Fortune 500 companies in developing strategies for service-based tiered and cloud storage. He holds a bachelor of science in Society/Technology Studies, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...