Many organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and maintain a storage infrastructure that meets today’s capacity and performance demands. Data volumes continue to grow exponentially, and business, legal and regulatory requirements mandate that data be held for longer periods of time.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the need for more reliable and cost-effective storage alternatives is driving the Storage-as-a-Service Market, which is expected to grow at an annual rate of 38 percent through 2019. Storage-as-a-Service is a cloud-based storage model in which an organization essentially rents part of a service provider’s storage infrastructure. Organizations are looking to Storage-as-a-Service as a means of keeping up with rampant data growth, enabling backup and archival services, and improving disaster recovery.

The cloud storage gateway market, which is distinct from pure Storage-as-a-Service, is expected to grow at an even faster rate of 54 percent.. The cloud storage gateway model uses a local appliance that translates various storage protocols to ensure compatibility and connectivity between an organization and a cloud storage provider. Although cloud storage gateway appliances have maintenance, compute, storage and bandwidth needs of their own, improvements in performance, security and traffic management outweigh any limitations.

Storage-as-a-Service is often a sensible solution to the storage conundrum, particularly for SMBs. The cost to expand and manage storage infrastructure to support growing data volumes is unsustainable, while the cloud provides virtually unlimited storage capacity for a monthly fee. Storage capacity can be scaled up or down on demand according to need, and because storage has no physical onsite presence, the data center footprint is reduced. Data can be accessed from any location on any desktop or mobile device, which provides greater flexibility for users.

A cloud service provider has much more sophisticated security tools and expertise than the average SMB, including advanced data encryption, access controls and next-generation firewalls. As a result, data is typically more secure in cloud storage. Storage-as-a-Service also automates data backup and simplifies disaster recovery, which reduces the risk of data loss and the cost of downtime.

Of course, Storage-as-a-Service is only as effective as the cloud service provider. Your service-level agreement (SLA) with the provider should clearly define roles, responsibilities and expectations. Questions that should be answered in your SLA include:

  • How are costs calculated? Are there additional fees when data transfers exceed a certain level?
  • What type of connection will be used (application programming interface, cloud storage gateway, etc.)? How will data be accessed if there are connectivity issues?
  • What are the minimum connection speed and availability guaranteed by the provider?
  • How does the provider protect data and meet regulatory compliance requirements?
  • How will your organization be compensated if terms of the SLA aren’t met?
  • What is the process if you decide to switch to a different provider?

IPC has partnered with AT&T to provide Storage-as-a-Service capabilities. AT&T’s Synaptic Storage-as-a-Service offers ready access to highly scalable, pay-per-use storage protected by a multilayer security approach. Because AT&T’s cloud services are embedded in its network, they meet the requirements of today’s most demanding workloads. Let IPC assess your existing storage infrastructure and show you how AT&T Synaptic Storage-as-a-Service delivers on the promise of cloud storage.