These days it seems like everything is all about the cloud, which we all know is just a fancy buzzword for the Internet. Cloud storage is a hot commodity and everyone wants their piece of the pie. The cloud and by extension cloud storage providers have a near endless supply of low cost storage. Getting to it and using it however has not been quite as easy as we in the small and medium business market had hoped. Most of the time using this cloud storage requires third party software that speaks directly to the cloud storage, a kind of middle man that controls the flow of data. If you have moved your infrastructure out to the cloud and your apps, then accessing this plethora of storage is no problem. For the rest of us there is hybrid cloud storage and the software and hardware vendors that make it possible.
What is hybrid cloud storage? Great question… Depending on which vendor you talk to it can be a few different things, in general it is either storage that replicates to the cloud and allows you to access your data from anywhere or it is just a cheap tier of storage you can add on to your existing local storage. In addition both views of hybrid cloud storage provide fast local access to data that then syncs back up to the cloud. One name that seems to come up frequently associated with hybrid cloud storage is Egnyte. Egnyte is one of those providers that allows you to share your data and access it from anywhere through the cloud. Starting at $40/mo billed annually you get everything you need to turn your storage into hybrid cloud storage for 5 users with 1TB of storage. Microsoft has a storage appliance called StorSimple that integrates with their Azure cloud storage. StorSimple provides fast local access to frequently used data and then moves stale or infrequently used data out to the Azure cloud. The locally stored data is synced with Azure providing a backup of your frequently used data as it changes. With a little work you can access you data that is stored in Azure via the cloud; however, it isn’t baked into the solution like it is with Egnyte. I was also not able to find a price for the StorSimple appliances so more than likely this particular solution “isn’t in the budget” for most small networks.
I see innumerable benefits to small businesses where the cloud is involved; however, the more I look into these exciting new buzzwords and their amazing technology the less it looks like they are designed for small businesses. Hybrid cloud storage looks to be another one of these not quite small business ready technologies. If you have a lot of data and need to get off of your local storage devices and into a managed cloud environment it is definitely worth exploring. If you are interested in finding out more about hybrid cloud storage solutions give me a call and I would be happy to help you find a solution that meets your needs.