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Why Corporate Cloud Storage Doesn't Add Up

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the put-your-data-in-the-buzzword dept.

Cloud 141

snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia sees few business IT situations that could make good use of full cloud storage services, outside of startups. 'As IT continues in a zigzag path of figuring out what to do with this "cloud" stuff, it seems that some companies are getting ahead of themselves. In particular, the concept of outsourcing storage to a cloud provider puzzles me. I can see some benefits in other cloud services (though I still find the trust aspect difficult to reconcile), but full-on cloud storage offerings don't make sense outside of some rare circumstances.'"

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141 comments

yiff yiff yiff (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119691)

I keep all my furry pr0nz in the clowd

Private cloud (5, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119845)

I just came from a very large banking organization, and their business case for cloud is to set up a series of private cloud servers. It's not about putting everything on Amazon etc, but rather about putting the services into their own datacentres.

They will literaly save hundreds of millions in hardware and power bills, as they can consolidate tons of servers together. The reason? Most boxes that they current have, utilize 1% of network traffic, less than 1% of CPU, and about 10% of hard disk space. Why? Because every project has their own boxes for political reasons, for redundancy, and most importantly, so that when they saved $10,000/year on hardware, they didn't lose $1,000,000 because the service was unavailable for half a day.

Because private cloud means that you have an instant sandbox for your apps, over a number of servers that the app can freely be moved to, this is the driver behind adoption of the model.

Public cloud is laughable to them, as the public cloud providers can pry their data from the company's cold dead hands.

Not to mention the wonderful PR side effect of the company being "green".

Re:Private cloud (4, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120027)

Not to mention the wonderful PR side effect of the company being "green".

Yup. Here's a pull-quote from a 2/13/2012 Dell press release, "Dell Opens New Western Technology Center in Quincy, Washington":

"Dell is proud to be listed as one of the top Green IT companies in the world," stated Patrick Mooney, executive director, Dell Services. "Our efforts to optimize the Power Usage Effectiveness at our Western Technology Center appeals to customers who want to consider the impact to the environment when configuring their IT solutions and to our environmentally conscious team members who participate in green initiatives across Dell."

"Power Usage Effectiveness" was originally coined "Power Usage Kilowatt Effectiveness" until someone pointed out its acronym.

Re:Private cloud (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120035)

Sometimes I REALLY wish there was a"Like" button for comments.

Re:Private cloud (4, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120163)

The problem is you're talking about virtualization, not cloud. Cloud is a real thing that not many people actually do. It's also a nonsense buzzword sprinkled like MSG across the menu of everything IT does. Excuse the pun, but virtually none of what is called cloud deserves the name.

Re:Private cloud (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120773)

A common mistake...

Amazon's stuff is virtualizated too I bet, but what makes a cloud and virtualization different is the provider, cloud is 3rd party: amazon, etc... and in the case of amazon they're probably virtualized too, but you don't know that just from the cloud. I'm sure they have a few things set up like terminal servers to increase their efficiency, which is not necessarily a part of virtualization either.

Re:Private cloud (4, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120883)

Undoubtedly so. In fact I can't imagine for a second that Amazon and the like aren't running on VMs. But you're exactly right. Virtualization by itself is not cloud any more than an engine is a car. There, you knew there was a car analogy in there somewhere, didn't you? ;-)

It's not a mistake, though, it's marketechture. Virtualization is old hat. You can't get people to shell out the big bucks for that, but if you rebrand it "cloud" (ooooh!) you can get people to pay more.

Re:Private cloud (2)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121371)

[...] what makes a cloud and virtualization different is the provider, cloud is 3rd party: amazon, etc...

Marten Mickos (CEO of MySQL for 7 years) disagrees with you: Keynote at Cloud Expo Europe - Clouds Are All About APIs. [eucalyptus.com].

His new product provides in-house cloud services. If you listen you his talk you will understand why in-house clouds are very different from virtualization. You can buy co-hosted virtualized servers. They are different from cloud services. The same distinction exists when these services are provided in-house.

Re:Private cloud (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121489)

"cloud is 3rd party"

Except when it is a private cloud. So no, cloud is not 3rd party.

Re:Private cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39122093)

No, yer both wrong. "Private cloud" is virtually an oxymoron (pardon the pun).
Cloud is not defined by the hosting facility/type, whether self, 3rd party, or co-lo. Nor does it have to be virtualised architecture, but it usually is these days.
Cloud IS a decentralised, distributed set of services & infrastructure, that are made centrally available - the user/customer doesn't & shouldn't give a rat's arse where/what the apps run on, how the database is stored or who is doing the admin/maintenance, etc. Good examples of true cloud computing/services are Google & Amazon.

Re:Private cloud (2)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121479)

Good rant... except for the little fact that you did forget about defining "cloud".

"Cloud" is marketroid speech and because of that, with a purporsely "nebulous" definition (pun intended): so others can say "but, ah! your cloud is not the real cloud, mine is".

I for one would say that if the customer is not location-aware and can self-service on-demand, it is cloud. And certainly you can have storage delivered that way.

Re:Private cloud (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122247)

so others can say "but, ah! your cloud is not the real cloud, mine is".

Nobody takes them cirrusly.

Re:Private cloud (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122657)

I like to go with the original definition. If you know what is being done with your data, it isn't a 'cloud'.

Re:Private cloud (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122233)

but virtually none of what is called cloud deserves the name.

It's a nebulous concept at the best of times.

Re:Private cloud (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122893)

Cloud is big data tables distributed across geographic locations to ensure not only optimum uptime but optimum response time. If you just have a server farm in Dallas, TX, that's not a cloud, no matter how big your data tables are. But if you have them in every locale (not necessarily same city but local as far as bits go) to each office accessing it, and they all share/propagate data intelligently across the big tables, that's a better definition of a corporate cloud. It's just that this kind of architecture is difficult and expensive to do, so it's usually done by 3rd parties.

Re:Private cloud (1)

kchoudhu (2572437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120191)

This. Financial technology cannot and will not outsource to public clouds for confidentiality and reliability reasons. We're happy to adapt "cloud" technologies that Amazon and its ilk are using -- but these technologies will only exist in our data centers, behind our highly restrictive firewalls, accesible only to our services.

Re:Private cloud (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120501)

I just came from a very large banking organization, and their business case for cloud is to set up a series of private cloud servers. It's not about putting everything on Amazon etc, but rather about putting the services into their own datacentres.

I'm not sure why you got an "insightful" rating for your comment. While what you said is true, a corporate private cloud is not the public cloud the submitted article is talking about.

Private cloud storage has always been around, but it used to be called a "fileserver", or maybe a "SAN", so just because they are calling storage consolidation a "private cloud" doesn't mean it's something new.

Re:Private cloud (2)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120887)

Private cloud storage has always been around, but it used to be called a "fileserver", or maybe a "SAN", so just because they are calling storage consolidation a "private cloud" doesn't mean it's something new.

Indeed, "cloud" has become the must-have buzzword for everything and everyone. I was amused to see that Western Digital is selling a home network storage appliance as a Personal Cloud [wdc.com].

Re:Private cloud (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121035)

"cloud" has expanded to include any sort of network/web service and is now meaningless

Re:Private cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121719)

IT management at the last place I worked at wanted to "get into the cloud" because there was a financial bonus for each manager tied to that migration. After much stress and high-level discussion, they renamed the data center to "private cloud". The project was a success because it came in on time and under budget and every manager got a bonus.

Re:Private cloud (4, Insightful)

Krokant (956646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122629)

And I don't understand why you get insightful for your comment :). There is a big difference between a traditional approach to IT, which involves fileservers, SAN, mailboxes, ... and a "private cloud" approach. What most techies do not comprehend, is that cloud computing is not a technology, but *a delivery model* for ICT services. Any existing service can be wrapped in a cloud coating, if that service is delivered in another way, to adhere to some fundamental characteristics of cloud computing (see for example the NIST definition). That is: you need to deliver your service anywhere, anytime, from any device (ubiquitous access), it needs to be in a self-service form, it needs to scale elastically (without waiting weeks for new servers to be delivered, ...), etc. Those are service characteristics that in the end will of course use technologies such as a SAN or fileserver or mailserver to deliver that service. It's just one logical layer higher than the technological layer. People who claim that cloud computing is "old stuff", have not understood what cloud computing is about.

Re:Private cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120989)

Most boxes that they current have, utilize 1% of network traffic, less than 1% of CPU, and about 10% of hard disk space.

By consolidating, one asshole trying to fix the backend to the online mortgage quote system will take down the system that processes debits. Sounds legit.

Re:Private cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121725)

No. In a virtualized environment you allocate resources per use. VM01 gets X proc, Y ram, Z hdd, etc. And in any environment you should be controlling bandwidth usage.

Re:Private cloud (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122513)

If it's inside your building, it's not the cloud. It's just consolidation and virtualisation and we've been doing it in banks for at least 6 years now in a big way.

Use a Mac in Enterprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119721)

If you use a Mac in an enterprise where the Infrastructure admins refuse to investigate why network performance grinds to a halt at 2:30pm everyday on the Windows shares, then you are dying for an alternative, competitive solution to your internal storage monopoly. Especially when your files are destined for publication anyhow, so data security concerns are much less.

Re:Use a Mac in Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119821)

If you use a Mac in an enterprise

i'll stop you there, who would be that silly?

Re:Use a Mac in Enterprise (0)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120245)

If you use a Mac in an enterprise where the Infrastructure admins refuse to investigate why network performance grinds to a halt at 2:30pm everyday on the Windows shares, then you are dying for an alternative, competitive solution to your internal storage monopoly. Especially when your files are destined for publication anyhow, so data security concerns are much less.

Maybe that slowdown is caused by bad behavior from the Macs on the network that IT doesn't know about.

Re:Use a Mac in Enterprise (3, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120599)

obviously the solution is to move the shares to an offsite location on a much thinner pipe

Re:Use a Mac in Enterprise (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121171)

sounds like someone is doing something they should not be doing, like manually virus scanning the shares from their desktop

Makes sense in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119769)

Cloud storage makes sense for some enterprises. Basically, those who can't tell their asshole from a hole in the ground. Those guys are probably better off subscribing to a nice idiot-proof, packaged service with crummy latency and 10 times the cost of managing their own array. And by the way, this may describe as much as 80% of corporate America.

we get approached all the time (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119797)

I work for a printing company... cloud storage companies call us all the time with the pitches. Then they ask .. "how much data are you currently backing up?" .. we say "around 38 terabyte's" .. they say .. "no .. we aren't asking what your archives are, we are asking what your daily backups are." we say "we back up once a week. our weekly backups are around 38 terabytes." Then they say "that is a little more than we can handle" so I ask "well what can you handle?" almost every one of them has said they generally look for companies that have between 500GB and 1TB of storage. I guess if you fit that spec, it would work.

Re:we get approached all the time (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119957)

That sounds like someone with a computer with a couple of external hard drives plugged in using cloud as a buzzword.

Although I've always been curious how Amazon can offer pricing for 5 petabytes and above.

Re:we get approached all the time (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121509)

"That sounds like someone with a computer with a couple of external hard drives plugged in using cloud as a buzzword."

That sound a customer restriction to me. I can own a bazillion petabytes worth of storage but if you are in the other side of a cable modem there's no way you can exchange with me 38TB a week.

Storage is pathetic (5, Insightful)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120611)

I have the same issue. I work for a small suburban newspaper, and even our hot data set is over 1TB, plus append-only archival data of more than 4TB.

When I tell these "cloud backup" providers this they do a double-take and then start talking laughably high prices or they just back off and say they can't really handle our archival data set. It's quite pathetic when my 10TB backup storage server in a fire-resistant, water-resistant enclosure in the shed cost under $5k when built - and that was when 10x1TB disks was a lot so the disks cost over $2500 by themselves.

Because I'm in Australia I also have the issue of bandwidth. I'd need a backup provider to peer with my ISP via a local peering point that offers unmetered traffic; with 100GB/month limits considered very big here I couldn't possibly back up over a metered link. Even then, my redundant two ADSL2+ links achive about 6Mbit/750kbit and 4Mbit/500kbit per second each, so I'd probably need to pay to run fibre from the nearest line along the train line (est $50,000) and pay over $1000/month for a fibre service just to talk to the backup storage host.

I'm negotiating to move our backup server to a business down the street and run an 802.11n point-to-point directional link between us instead. We each get to fail over to each others' Internet services if necessary, we exchange backup storage, and neither of us gets to pay through the nose for it. It's not as good as a fast link to a DC somewhere, but it's a hell of a lot more practical.

The other issue with cloud backups arises when you need that 5TB (mine) or 38TB (yours) in a hurry, for disaster recovery. You can't exactly run down the street and grab the server with its disk array then restore over 1Gbit ethernet or direct to locally attached SAS/eSATA/whatever. Nope, you have to download all that data over whatever Internet link you have access to. If that's not the dedicated fast link your premises has (say, if they've burned down) then you are screwed.

I'll keep my primary backups within driving distance, thanks.

Re:Storage is pathetic (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121379)

A business down the street? As I see it, off-site storage - cloud... whatever - and even hosted servers are fine technologies for disaster recovery. If your block or neighbourhood gets caught up in a big fire, earthquake or flood having your off-site back-up "down the street" might not be as helpful as you hoped. You even acknowledge this.

The SME company I work at is currently looking at new accounts software, and we've been investigating using hosted servers for just about everything. Our data is nothing special in the big scheme of things - emails, quotations, spreadsheets and the financial data - and I'm liking the idea of handing the care of it to somebody else. Over the past forty years two depots were gutted by fires (nope, not insurance fraud - terrorism) and this still colours our thinking. If the place were I work burns down, in theory I could be up and running from a hotel room, portakabin or home, sending email, checking accounts and playing with spreadsheets immediately.

Re:Storage is pathetic (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121729)

While I like the *idea* of cloud hosting making the office portable, it only works for some kinds of work, and has its own downsides.

Australia has only a couple of big international data links, and they've been known to go down when cables get cut by idiot trawlers. This usually causes severe congestion on the other links and I would NOT want to be running my business off those links when this happens. If you're not in .AU/.NZ, this probably isn't an issue for you, and in .AU or .NZ one can always host within the country - if you one find a provider.

The bigger issue is volume of data. I work at a small local newspaper, and even here we're dealing with over a terabyte of data in our "hot" set that we absolutely must have to produce each edition. This is not going to work over Internet links to cloud hosting. Keeping the data set on the other end but simply isn't practical when colour-correcting and touching up images, producing artwork, etc.

Re:Storage is pathetic (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122289)

If your block or neighbourhood gets caught up in a big fire, earthquake or flood having your off-site back-up "down the street" might not be as helpful as you hoped.

What do you mean by "or"? In Australia they have all three at once!

Re:Storage is pathetic (1)

randomsearch (1207102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39122889)

Surely the issue is not how much data you have, but how much bandwidth you need.

You can physically perform the initial transfer, so no problem if it's 1GB or 100TB.

The question is, do you need to access more of that than the bandwidth can carry?

If you need to extensively modify all of that data each day, then clearly cloud won't work for you if those modifications require lots of data from outside the cloud data centre.

RS

Duh (0)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119823)

Truly a duh moment, and the only real question in my mind is "Who thought it was a good idea?"

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119981)

I would guess, this was some wort of deal cooked up by 'media' industries to get your stuff off your computer and out somewhere that it could be searched for infringements. They tried to make it look 'cool' by using the Apple model. I'm glad to say, most people I know aren't stupid enough to buy into it..

Burn the heretic (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119827)

The cloud is the answer to EVERYTHING.

Despite data crystallization, sync, security and all of the usual complaints, it will solve everything and make toast, too!

Re:Burn the heretic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120101)

but will it blend?

Re:Burn the heretic (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120321)

The cloud is the answer to NOTHING.

Despite off-site storage, automatic backups, the ability to auto-sync to multiple sites, and that there are ways to secure it, it's completely useless!

Re:Burn the heretic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121365)

off-site storage

Yeah can't do that without 'the cloud'.

automatic backups

A cloud invention, you could never do automatic backups without 'the cloud'.

the ability to auto-sync to multiple sites

Need 'the cloud' for that, could never be done without 'cloud services'.

and that there are ways to secure it

Because we couldn't secure data before 'the cloud'.

it's completely useless!

and for my only non-sarcastic response to your idiotic and ignorant post: yes it pretty much is useless.

Re:Burn the heretic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121495)

Speaking of ignorant posting, nothing was said about being the only solution.

Re:Burn the heretic (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121391)

The cloud is the answer to NOTHING.

Despite off-site storage, automatic backups, the ability to auto-sync to multiple sites, and that there are ways to secure it, it's completely useless!

Don't forget the wine!

Uh, what? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119857)

Ok. Somebody is completely off-their-head nuts, either the author or the people he is writing about(and I have my suspicions about the author...)

To the best of my knowledge, nobody pitches this 'cloud storage' stuff as a replacement for local storage, unless they are also selling some hosted software-as-a-vendor-lock-in 'solution'. It's a sufficiently overwhelmingly bad idea that nobody even tries. So, what exactly is he wasting an article on?

Yup, SATA drives are cheap and reasonably zippy. Y'know what's less cheap, more complex, and not as zippy? Good Backups, including offsite. And that, (along with the web hosting and CDN focused stuff) is what the 'cloud' people are selling. No shit delivering files over the internet with a 200ms round-trip and a teeny pipe isn't going to replace the local storage or a network share a couple of GigE hops away. Replace that balky tape library the next time it conks out, though? Not certain; but much more conceivable...

Re:Uh, what? (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39119909)

Yeah, especially since most local storage these days are appliances that pretty much manage themselves. And there's that physical access part of security -- if it's locked in your machine room with no path to the outside world, it's a lot harder to steal your data.

Re:Uh, what? (5, Informative)

TPoise (799382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120333)

The problem is that file storage is so dad-gum expensive these days. 15cents a gb at Amazon makes it $150 per month for a terabyte of storage. You're better off buying the 1TB drives yourself and rotating it to an employee's house every night. Sure there are some cheaper alternatives (nimbus.io) but even at 6cents a GB with Nimbus, you're still better off buying the external drives yourself.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120585)

The problem is that file storage is so dad-gum expensive these days. 15cents a gb at Amazon makes it $150 per month for a terabyte of storage. You're better off buying the 1TB drives yourself and rotating it to an employee's house every night.

Sure there are some cheaper alternatives (nimbus.io) but even at 6cents a GB with Nimbus, you're still better off buying the external drives yourself.

But you've got to pay someone to keep track of those drives (you do have more than one, right?), and shuttle them back and forth from home (if you're in earthquake country, he better not live too close to the office. If he spends a few hours/month doing these daily drive swaps, then it may be worth paying Amazon $150/month to store the data for you and you can replicate your data offsite more than once/day.

Australia (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120633)

Now try being in Australia, where in addition to those downsides we have tightly metered traffic on Internet links, not just for international traffic over the undersea cables but for ALL traffic not to/from our local ISP.

People trying to sell cloud storage in this environment are off their nut.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120941)

The problem is that file storage is so dad-gum expensive these days. 15cents a gb at Amazon makes it $150 per month for a terabyte of storage. You're better off buying the 1TB drives yourself and rotating it to an employee's house every night. Sure there are some cheaper alternatives (nimbus.io) but even at 6cents a GB with Nimbus, you're still better off buying the external drives yourself.

Buying a 1TB drive for your backup may be fine for your home computer (I do that myself) but tell that to companies who backup peta-bytes of data a day. Don't know them try your local Telco's. Even local Councils require backups of many TB per week.

BTW. Can your 1TB backup solution allow for recovery of data that is 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months even up to 7 years or more old? By law many companies are required to keep data up to 7 years old.

A professional backup and recovery solution can range from a few 10's of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars with on-going costs ranging from a few hundred dollars per month to many thousands of dollars per month. It is not cheap but all companies must ask the question of "What price do you put on your data?". Those business that don't answer the question correctly and plan accordingly with the appropriately allocated budget are doomed to failure.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39121265)

Indeed. "Throw that on a usb stick, stick it down your pants, and save $150 on S3 charges" doesn't even scale to the size of the 80-ish person company I work at. We'd have to start interviewing people based on whether they had a pickup truck or not.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121481)

Nobody seriously considers a single 1TB drive to be an enterprise solution to anything. But an enterprise solution has the funds for dozens, maybe hundreds of drives. After all, what is the data worth?

Re:Uh, what? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120649)

Yeah, especially since most local storage these days are appliances that pretty much manage themselves. And there's that physical access part of security -- if it's locked in your machine room with no path to the outside world, it's a lot harder to steal your data.

While it may be much harder to steal the data that's locked in your machine room, if that's the only place it exists, you're guaranteed to lose it when you have a machine room disaster (fire, fire supression release, transformer explosion, etc).

Most enterprise backup software will encrypt your data for offsite storage. A cloud storage vendor can also offer encryption options where you are the only one with the decryption key.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121485)

Geo synchronization. I used to teach that. It works really well. Really, these solutions are well known.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119955)

It's a sufficiently overwhelmingly bad idea that nobody even tries.

You'd be surprised.

Re:Uh, what? (3, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120121)

I don't know if you have been in corporate IT lately but these people selling the crap are indeed selling this as the end-all-be-all of computing. Everything (data storage, web hosting, virtual servers, desktops, crm and similar databasing needs, e-mail, ...) is supposed to be in the cloud at a much lower price point. Microsoft is one of the worst offenders as they sell their entire suite (Exchange, AD, ShitPoint, Office ...) in the "cloud" these days, promise the world but have no way to deliver.

If you have an IT organization with more than 2 IT people where stuffing the "cloud" (or having everything hosted for you) is going to end up being cheaper you have a really badly managed department that is extremely bloated.

For enterprise data storage: average price is $1,000/TB/year (Amazon et al) while a decent locally managed system (SAS, HA) should be ~$100-300/TB/year. Off course if you pay NetApp or the like (at ~$3,000/TB/year) for your storage, you brought this upon yourself and the person making that decision should've been fired.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120459)

For enterprise data storage: average price is $1,000/TB/year (Amazon et al) while a decent locally managed system (SAS, HA) should be ~$100-300/TB/year

You are comparing multiple copies in different geographic locations, with 24x7 monitoring, to a NAS box sitting in the closet in the IT guys office.

Time is money. If the IT department thinks they can keep storage secure and available 365 days a year for $100/tb they are badly managed. A few hours of downtime and their cost just went up 10x.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120595)

I'd rather have an entry level SAN like EMC's VNX. It can handle iSCSI, FCoE, FC, CIFS, and NFS.

It also handles snapshots, antivirus at the disk level (rootkits can't hide from that unless completely in RAM), replication between distances, various RAID levels, autotiering, deduplication, etc.

With two of those replicating, with a tape silo for long term archiving, it is hard to beat that.

Re:Uh, what? (2)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120159)

I suppose if you're a tiny company with a tiny amount of data to backup it'd make sense. If you had even a few tens of gigabytes of data why do you want your offsite storage behind a network connection that can deliver perhaps 1 MB/s? Sure if I want to do an occasional file restore, but when the shit hit the fan I want to be able to bring a crate full of tapes into my data center and streaming off of 8 tape drives at 400 MB/s.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120253)

Because managers justify the costs/benefits by arguing that the cost of paying for 'cloud services' allows them to downsize the IT department, which in turn downsizes the amount of money they have to pay into pension, health insurance, and other employee benefits. It also downsizes the amount of money they have to pay for rent/real estate/maintaining their own server farms, electrical costs and having to pay for new hardware themselves.

And from a strictly financial basis, they're right.

The problem is when shit hits the fan like the data center goes down, the internet goes down, the internet starts to crap out, etc, etc, etc. (Course, if all managers thought that way, manufacturing wouldn't have put all their eggs in China/India/Japan and revenues wouldn't have gone to hell when the tsunami/earthquake/floods hit.)

Re:Uh, what? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120525)

*nod* I tend to assume that many of the 'cloud' companies are traditional off site backup providers that have done a little rebranding.

Though such services are also useful for small companies that are not set up to host their own servers and want to move files between far flung people. I think a lot of geeks tend to forget that not every company is interested in having its own servers and IT dept when their buisness has nothing to do with computers.

interest comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39119991)

Mark Crispin (inventor of IMAP) has this posted on his website and Facebook page:

"Those who live by the cloud, die by the cloud."

Re:interest comment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120425)

That's a bit formulaic, isn't it? Here, watch this:

"Those who live by the tape backup, die by the tape backup."

Seamless.

Author is clueless about current IT. (1)

aktiveradio (851043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120019)

We use Box for 300 people in 8 countries and I use Dropbox and Skyfile for personal file storage and sharing. There is a place for Cloud storage in corporate IT since the end users are using these services on mobile devices already. The author is obviously out of touch with current CIO initiatives, I talk to these guys everyday and most are looking to use cloud services for file storage and sharing.

Re:Author is clueless about current IT. (3, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120299)

We use Box for 300 people in 8 countries and I use Dropbox and Skyfile for personal file storage and sharing. There is a place for Cloud storage in corporate IT since the end users are using these services on mobile devices already. The author is obviously out of touch with current CIO initiatives, I talk to these guys everyday and most are looking to use cloud services for file storage and sharing.

Do any of these CIOs run companies that fall under SOX, HIPAA, or PCI? How does your CIO ensure that files stored on the cloud storage meet any of those regulatory requirements? All it takes is one personnel file with medical records to leak into the wild to for the company to face liability under HIPAA for unauthorized release. If the company knowingly allowed sensitive files to be stored in unsecured storage, the penalties could be substantial.

Re:Author is clueless about current IT. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121285)

Fortunately, not every business falls under the dark cloud of socialist regulatory agencies. Some companies run unfettered and free in the glorious economic wilderness that is the American capitalist system.

Re:Author is clueless about current IT. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121325)

Fortunately, not every business falls under the dark cloud of socialist regulatory agencies. Some companies run unfettered and free in the glorious economic wilderness that is the American capitalist system.

But how many of those free and unfettered businesses are large enough to have a CIO?

The same used to be true of outsourced Email (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120221)

Gluster - Local storage? ok. Remote storage? ok. Redundant sets of data across multiple availability zones in EC2 or different providers or local and remote? ok.). http://www.gluster.org/ [gluster.org]

The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (5, Insightful)

jeffc128ca (449295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120301)

Why don't people look in the history books of computing. If they did they would see that in the before the 80's everything was in "the cloud", except back then they called it servers. They rented these servers and the storage space from IBM, Digital, HP and a few other server providers. The personal computer came a long and data started shifting on to local hard drives and WIntel or Novell LAN servers.

Now they have the problem of trying to maintain every spreadsheet and Access DB sitting on a managers laptop. To solve this they are going back to the future and storing stuff back on servers sold to us by young people who never knew what DASD is. Controls and audits will demand restricted access and rules be put in the cloud for protection just like before. After about 10 years we will all be bitching and complaining about the cloud and praising local storage for it's ease of access and not having our data held hostage by providers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There is nothing new under the sun people, just move along.

Re:The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120575)

God damn it, where are my mod points when I need them.

+5 Insightful

Re:The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120587)

Yhose who forget history are doomed to repeat it ...

Re:The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (5, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120951)

Those who forget history are doomed to pay overpriced consultants to reinvent it for them.

Re:The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121121)

Back then they called it mainframes and timeshare. It's why I called this timeshare 2.0.

I like some of these services like iCloud where as a small business owner I can update my calendar on my phone and it's automatically synced with my computer and iPad. Same even with Pages now and iCloud. I like the syncing feature. But you know what else that I like: the fact that a local copy still exists on my disk drives. If I'm flying across the country I can still read and edit the local copies on the plane even without internet.

That was the major complaint I had with google app offerings. Yes they were great for sharing, but you had to worry about remembering to download a copy to your local machine.

Re:The cloud has always existed for Corp IT (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121293)

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.

W00t 7p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120311)

to Underscore clothes or be a

The bottom line is we don't need IT department (2)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120319)

Ok. Maybe one person to be an adviser on which services to use and how to configure them, (and which Mac models to buy heh heh) but that's about it.

In that context, cloud storage makes eminent sense because for the cloud service provider, providing reliable storage, or apps, or whatever, is their core competency.
It is not your company's core competency. They will do it better than you. Period.

Such storage would make even more sense if it was properly fragmented, onion-routed, multiply encryption-wrapped, encryption-upgradable-in-place etc etc etc but that will all come, as will, one hopes, open standards so that cloud storage is not vendor-locked.

 

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120401)

It is not your company's core competency. They will do it better than you. Period.

The notion that companies should do only one thing is misguided. They shouldn't squander their resources trying to be everything, true, but for companies beyond a certain size, they can provide these services cheaper than "cloud" companies can. Why? Well, because the provider isn't doing anything you can't do. If you're a big company or a government, you already own data centers. You already own staff. You already own software. In short, you're already providing the service, and you're doing it cheaper.

I know we're all supposed to drool when anybody says cloud, but I've priced it vs. our own cost to provide. We're cheaper. Hands down. Not even close.

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (4, Insightful)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120521)

Right - and when you can integrate your SAP Cloud ERP system, your SalesForce.com CRM system, your Workday HRIS, *and* the data from your 500 retail locations that you poll daily, all within your Netezza AppNexus data warehouse to generate dashboards using your MicroStrategy MCDWS BI system, without your IT department, you let us know...

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39120829)

Did it yesterday. Easy Peasy.

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120711)

That's not true once you get to a certain size. If your company considers IT and storage to be a cost, then yes, a third party (where storage is their revenue source) will do it better. If your company considers IT and storage to be an investment, then they can do it just as good (if not better) than a third party.

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (2)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120845)

They will do it better than you. Period.

They will comply with their SLA better than you, you mean. And if the cloud provider goes under (e.g., we have another dotcom crash), are there any guarantees you get your data back? How about the peeps with stuff on megaupload?

Re:The bottom line is we don't need IT department (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121507)

In that context, cloud storage makes eminent sense because for the cloud service provider, providing reliable storage, or apps, or whatever, is their core competency.

And yet we still see failures from the biggest players like the EC2 crash [techmento.com], the Danger fiasco [techcrunch.com], iCloud failing [time.com] or gmail outages [computerworld.com.au]. Go 'The Cloud'.

It is not your company's core competency. They will do it better than you. Period.

Yeah because we all know McDonalds' IT systems are managed by the guy flipping the burgers, they don't actually have qualified IT guys there. Seriously you haven't realized that it's just outsourcing the IT department? You think these 'cloud' providers are some other sort of entity that aren't just IT guys running an IT contracting business as opposed to internal division?

Good for backups, but few decent svcs exist (4, Informative)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120537)

For me the one attractive use case for cloud storage is for backups - and it's one that's catered to particularly poorly by current offerings.

For backups, you want (a) fast, unmetered links to the host and (b) moderately reliable, cheap, and not-that-fast storage you can access in a variety of different ways depending on what's most convenient, with or without running your own VPS to mediate between storage and storage clients.

One user will want to rsync to their cloud storage. One will want to remote-mount a file system on it via iSCSI. Another will want to run a Bacula storage daemon on it. Yet another will want to use it as a co-ordinator for a full network backup system. All these use cases should really be supported, and the first two shouldn't need the customer to maintain their own VPS to control the storage.

As things stand, almost everyone wants to sell SAN-based high performance storage that's *expensive* and *fast*, not cheap and slow. Most backup services seem to want you to use their tools or a local appliance to talk to their storage. Half of them act very confused when you mention "Linux" or "UNIX" and ask if that's a new kind of Mac or something. At least in Australia I've found the market miserably unsatisfying so far.

What I'd really like is for ISPs to begin offering, or partnering with others to offer via peering, bulk near-line storage at moderately affordable rates. That way you can talk to it over your business's main ADSL/SHDSL/fibre/whatever link(s) without dealing with quotas, it's fast, there are multiple routes to it, and it's unlikely to go down if an international link has a hiccup.

iiNet's cloud offering looked like it might have potential for this, but it turns out to be just another EC2-wannabe crossed with Linode-done-badly-and-expensively. The storage offerings are miserable and they don't even mention whether traffic between iiNet internet services and their cloud is metered

cloud storage? no thanks (2)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39120815)

At the end of the day it comes down to this: who is responsible for keeping your data? With failures in amazon's cloud service, a provider over east in Australia that got hacked and lost all backups, etc - trusting your company's data to someone else is a BIG call to make and understandably, many businesses are wary of the idea.

At least if the data is stored on premises, and on backup tapes, you have options with regards to data retention/data recovery. Once you upload all your stuff to the cloud, you're at the mercy of your cloud provider. Sure, you may have an SLA, but SLAs mean shit if your company is unable to get access to it's data when required - or would like to prevent third parties from obtaining access to data (such as foreign governments) that the cloud provider may be persuaded or legally required to divulge.

a fool and his money are soon parted (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121203)

trust your sensitive data to others that only see you as a line item in their billing system? Sorry, just stupid.

It doesn't make sense on a small scale either. (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121219)

I signed up for Dropbox and my experience with it is that it's slow as molasses when uploading and I can't just drop a link there and have it point at my server. Nono, I must upload the entire file itself.

Most people would be better off with Opera Unite. While some here may laugh and point at it because it is not a full-blown server setup, it is probably the easiest ad-hoc file sharing/server program going. Sure, I've personally installed Apache, sftpd and sshd on my home server but just the concepts of these services alone are beyond the grasp of most people. Opera Unite makes this kind of thing drool-proof.

You declare which directories are shared and that's it. You're done. No uploading to the "cloud" like Dropbox, Skydrive, or Apple's music thingy (and Unite will do media streaming). And you don't get locked in or risk losing control of your data should the cloud service get closed down.

--
BMO

bulk data (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39121529)

To just send our not-so-important, older bulk data like before and after photos, old autocad files, and reports to "the cloud" on our $270 internet connection would take over 90 hours so...that's what I think of that.
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