There’s a trend emerging among organizations interested in cloud: migrating file-based services. As the types of services and applications users want to run in the cloud expand, the conversation around file-based services is changing the way users think about migration. Previously, cloud storage discussions centered on object storage, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) object storage, or backing up and archiving unstructured data. But now, that’s starting to change, and file-based services are coming to the forefront.
The application use cases we’ve seen for migrating file storage to the cloud stem from organizations migrating their enterprise applications from on-premises environments to the cloud. Architects and developers prefer to avoid investing in refactoring or re-architecting applications in their data center to take advantage of object storage. In fact, object storage isn’t a good fit for a lot of applications. The hybrid applications that we see require consistency with both on-premises and cloud-based features and functions. This is especially true for high-performance applications, which also require performance and latency that are more stringent than what has typically been available in object storage.
Last year, IDC published a report identifying the four main factors prompting interest in file storage in the cloud. These factors are consistent with what we’ve heard at NetApp about why customers have not moved their file services to the cloud, and about the challenges they’ve had when they did try to move them.
Consistency and Compatibility
The first priority for cloud users interested in file storage is typically consistency and compatibility. This factor is largely self-explanatory; customers need to ensure that their files are consistent and compatible with existing protocols, both on premises and in the cloud.
Without file storage in the cloud, many organizations end up re-creating their on-premises infrastructure—which means running multiple servers, supporting additional infrastructure, and adding complexity. Cloud users want and need consistency with on-premises applications, reduced cost, and a seamless experience. By moving file storage into the cloud, cloud users no longer have to support duplicate infrastructures, so there’s no more procuring, managing, upgrading, updating, and troubleshooting in multiple places.
In an on-premises setup, performance has typically been limited to the compute that customers choose and the capability of the windows or storage server software they choose. Performance hasn’t scaled or provided the high throughput or low maintenance required. Customers interested in file storage in the cloud are looking for the performance and cloud infrastructure that can support mission-critical applications without disruption.
Finally, the fourth factor motivating interest in file storage is data protection. Servers that provide limited snapshot, backup, or data recovery capabilities don’t normally deliver the features, functionality, and benefits required to deliver file services in the cloud. Therefore, organizations are looking to file storage migration—to ensure that their data is both protected and available.
So, what is NetApp’s approach for delivering file services in the cloud? Check out this demo to learn more about the fully managed NetApp® Cloud Volumes Service for AWS.
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