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Storage in the Cloud

October 11th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Caught up in “cloud” technology? Think it’s useful or just some hype? This post will provide an extensive review of the pros and cons of cloud storage. We’ll also provide a definition of “cloud” storage and the difference between a public and private cloud.

Cloud Overview

There are a few different types of cloud storage. The main goal of the term “cloud” is to separate and decentralize storage. Systems should be expected to fail, fail often (more often than enterprise class hardware) and be easily replaced when they do. There are many providers of public cloud storage and quite a few vendors which provide cloud storage software so you can start your own cloud.

Public Cloud Providers

Private Cloud Providers (Software)

Cloud Benefits

There are many benefits to utilizing cloud storage. One of Powering Cloud Storagethe best benefits of using public storage is to diversify and distribute storage across the nation. Utilizing a private cloud allows you to decentralize your storage and possibly speed up largely parallel reads and build fault tolerance into your storage systems. I’ve personally had experience with ParaScale and it seems to work great. The software allows you to build your own private cloud storage system. In testing it has proved to be very fast and efficient.

Cloud Cons

Utilizing a public cloud can be a bit scary for some. Of course it requires a level of trust and assurance to allow your data to be on a public system. I’m sure most responsible persons will keep copies of their data elsewhere beside a public cloud. Private clouds are still somewhat new and require special software. If the software (or any underlying proprietary system) fails, it will require custom services (provided by the software vendor) to recover the data. Private clouds can be very helpful but we must weigh the benefits against the risks.

Conclusion

Cloud storage has been very successful in both private and public practice. Cloud storage provides cheap and distributed storage for files and can add speed if used privately. This technology is still very new and it must be considered with a “grain of salt” – we’re talking about our data here! In conclusion, Cloud storage technology is very efficient, decentralized, highly fault-tolerant and can offer us many benefits. The only way for the technology to mature is to provide more use and refinement. When cloud storage platforms are fully matured we can place more hope in the “cloud hype.”

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