How to avoid the big upcoming cloud storage problem – which could run you down

When organisations migrate to the cloud they have an application problem: deciding which apps to migrate and in what order as well as which ones to reconfigure as cloud-native. 
Once in the cloud they have a data problem: budgets that are flat or in decline and data volumes that are growing exponentially.

Where people go wrong is thinking ONLY about the application problem in advance. All too often when we cross the road we look left or right when we should be looking both left AND right.

It is wrong to think of cloud as a commodity. Cloud price wars have eased and the pace of decline in prices for cloud compute and storage has slowed almost to a halt. The reason for this shift is market maturity, with people having more faith in the cloud model than they once did. 451 Research analysts have said that the cloud has not yet become a commodity and as such, the cloud market is "not highly price-sensitive" at the moment, despite businesses wanting to get the best deals they possibly can.

CIOs are often overly focused on the cost of compute, where the cost of compute is not decelerating as fast as it did during the height of the price war. However, they should also be focusing on the cost of object and block storage. Prices for storage may have more scope to fall than for compute, but if you’re being charged for data and your data is growing exponentially then you have a problem.

Few, if any, organisations are throwing away any of their old data and new data is being added at an exponential rate – a rate that will only increase with 5G and IoT. This exponential explosion in the volume of data is a real problem.

Many of us are some way down the cloud path. Most of the initial gains that we experienced from moving to the cloud came from the low hanging fruit. Such gains came from transformational projects that could deliver immediate improvements in service or reductions in cost, or that addressed the most immediate challenges at hand.

Typically, though, we put off the biggest challenges, those that would require either organisational transformation, including interdepartmental collaboration and structural reform, or technological transformation, including re-engineering or refactoring applications from the ground up. 

For many organisations, the easy gains have already been realised and the real challenges lie ahead.

Indeed, many of the easy gains came from virtualised applications that could easily be ‘lifted and shifted’ to the cloud and connected to cloud-based block storage. Now with budgets that are flat or in decline and data volumes that continue to grow, there is a looming crisis relating not only to the ongoing cost of data storage, but also to the cost of both ingress and egress [The cost of moving data and applications into the cloud (ingress) or move anything out of the cloud (egress) or even moving it between regions].

Things should be fine for those that ‘looked both ways’ and ensured that such costs were calculated in advance and built into the business case. However, those that ‘only looked left’ will have been hit from the right by unexpected costs that are outpacing the growth of their budgets. Indeed, all too many CIOs have gone from being unintelligent in their use of data in legacy environments to unintelligent in their use of data in the cloud.

If you, like many, have been overly focused on the cost of infrastructure and compute, but as quickly as savings have already been realised (and the easy ones have all been realised already), you have started experiencing exponential data growth and with it cost, and you’re locked in by egress charges, then you’ve got a BIG problem. Even if you are using existing commercial infrastructure or commodity cloud services to cap infrastructure costs, if your data use is unintelligent or is growing fast, both of which are true in many organisations, then your costs will be spiralling in the wrong direction.

The only way out is to 1) rationalize your data and 2) find an intelligent longer-term solution for your data storage that doesn’t lock you in to a single cloud provider and doesn’t include egress or ingress charges.

Thankfully there are multi-cloud storage solutions, like HPE’s new Cloud Volumes service, that not only include AI to maximise the intelligence with which you manage your storage, but provide a direct link to both your own on prem systems as well as all the public cloud providers, but are also free of ingress and egress charges (once you bitten the bullet and met the initial one-off charge from your current cloud provider of moving any existing data onto this new platform). in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.