The Benefits of a Hybrid
Storage Strategy

The Complete Guide to Extending or Moving Your Storage Infrastructure to the Public Cloud

The cloud is fundamentally transforming information technology.  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are helping companies accelerate the pace of innovation, avoid capital equipment expenses and free up staff to focus on strategic activities to grow the business.

Traditional IT platforms can’t meet the increased agility and price-performance demands of today’s fast-paced digital world. In a 2018 IDG survey of 200 IT executives, legacy IT infrastructure is cited as a top barrier to IT transformation.

Businesses in every industry are looking to cloud-based services to augment or replace traditional on-premises IT systems, and facilitate digital transformation.  Most are pursuing hybrid cloud approaches. (63% of enterprises in the IDG survey are pursuing a hybrid cloud approach.)

 

Top Barriers to IT Transformation

 

Hybrid Cloud Strategy Shows Wider Progress

First-generation cloud storage providers offer confusing tiered storage services.  Each storage tier is intended for a specific type of data, and has distinct performance characteristics, SLAs and pricing plans (with complex fee structures).

While each vendor’s portfolio is slightly different, these tiered services are generally optimized for three distinct classes of data.

 

Active Data
Live data that is readily accessible by the operating system,an application or users. Active data is frequently accessed and has stringent read/write performance requirements.

 

Active Archive
Occasionally accessed data that is available instantly online(not restored and rehydrated from an offline or remote source). Examples include backup data for rapid disaster recovery or large video files that might be accessed from time-to-time
on short notice.

 

Inactive Archive
Infrequently accessed data. Examples include data maintainedlong-term for regulatory compliance.  Historically, inactive data is archived to tape and stored offsite.

 

Identifying the best storage class (and best value) for a particular application can be a real challenge with a legacy cloud storage provider.  Microsoft Azure, for example, offers four distinct object storage options: General Purpose v1, General Purpose v2, Blob Storage and Premium Blob Storage.  Each option has unique pricing and performance characteristics. And some (but not all) of the options support three distinct storage tiers, with distinct SLAs and fees: hot storage (for frequently accessed data), cool storage (for infrequently accessed data) and archive storage (for rarely accessed data). With so many choices and pricing variables, it is nearly impossible to make a well-informed decision and to accurately budget expenses.

At Wasabi, we believe cloud storage should be simple. Unlike legacy cloud storage services with confusing storage tiers and convoluted pricing schemes, we provide a single product—with predictable, affordable and straightforward pricing—that satisfies any cloud storage requirement. You can use Wasabi for any data storage class:  active data, active archive and inactive archive.

Hybrid IT environments — a blend of on-site and cloud-based IT resources — are commonplace today.  And data storage is no exception to hybrid IT implementations. Many businesses use a combination of on-site storage platforms and cloud storage solutions to contain equipment sprawl and management hassles.

A hybrid storage implementation can help you:

  • Extend on-prem storage equipment investments
  • Reclaim expensive on-site storage capacity
  • Align storage costs with data value
  • Improve disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC)
  • Simplify operations and free up IT personnel for innovation-focused projects

Even though hybrid IT environments are common, the terminology used to describe them can be inconsistent and contradictory.  The term cloud computing was coined in 1996, yet to this day there is no universally recognized body for defining industry-standard terms and constructs. Not surprisingly, vendors often intentionally conflate terms to hype their solutions and seed confusion.  In the storage arena in particular, terms like multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud and hybrid storage are often used interchangeably.

Before we dig into hybrid storage use cases let’s review the most widely accepted definitions of some commonly used cloud computing terms to level-set the discussion.

 

Cloud Computing Models

Public Cloud

A shared, remotely hosted and managed, multi-tenant IT environment.  Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the most popular first-generation public clouds.  Wasabi is also a public cloud, specifically, a next-generation IaaS storage solution.

 

Private Cloud

A cloud implementation dedicated to a single tenant, typically done by using virtualization technology.  Some businesses implement and manage their own clouds in a corporate data center or co-location center. Private clouds are typically operated by corporate IT and used by line-of-business customers to build and run applications. Managed service providers, colocation providers and some public cloud providers also offer private cloud services, i.e. a remotely hosted and managed cloud instance, running on hardware dedicated to a single customer.

 

Hybrid Cloud

A mixed implementation composed of public and private cloud resources.  For example, a business might use a private cloud for workloads with extreme security or performance requirements, and a public cloud for workloads with less stringent requirements.

 

Multi-Cloud

This term is most often used to describe a mixed implementation composed of multiple clouds, such as one public cloud provider for compute, another for a content delivery network and Wasabi for active data storage.

You can use public cloud storage services to add value to your on-premises storage and private cloud storage solutions.  Hybrid storage can help you extend the life of your IT assets while taking advantage of cloud economics, agility and scalability.

We define hybrid storage as a mixed implementation composed of disparate on-prem and cloud storage solutions.  A hybrid storage implementation could include any combination of the following storage resources:

  • Traditional on premises storage solutions such as network-attached storage (NAS), storage-area networks (SAN) and direct-attached storage (DAS).
  • Private cloud storage, for example, a business might build a private cloud with an open-source IaaS solution like OpenStack, using OpenStack Swift for object storage.
  • Public cloud storage like Wasabi hot cloud storage.

Today, most hybrid storage environments simply combine conventional on-premises storage solutions (NAS/SAN/DAS) with public cloud storage solutions like Wasabi.

Let’s take a look at some popular hybrid storage use cases.

You can use cloud storage to protect data stored on conventional on-premises storage platforms (NAS/SAN/DAS).  Many companies are struggling to protect business-critical data against equipment failures, disasters and ransomware.  Replicating data to a secondary data center is an expensive undertaking, beyond the reach of most organizations. (Most businesses can’t afford to build out and operate a secondary data center for DR/BC).  And backing up to tape is a manually intensive and inefficient process that often leaves valuable business data unprotected. Many businesses ship tapes offsite for disaster recovery. It can take days to retrieve tapes, rebuild systems and restore business-critical applications and data in the wake of a catastrophe.

Backing up data to the cloud is far more cost-effective than backing up data to a secondary data center.  It is also much faster and more efficient than using tape and offsite vaulting for backup and recovery. Cloud storage can help you save money and improve recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs).

Cloud Backup for Traditional On-Premises Storage (NAS/SAN/DAS)

You can also use cloud storage to cost-effectively protect desktops and laptops scattered throughout the enterprise.  A centralized, cloud-based endpoint backup solution can help simplify operations, reduce help desk burdens and ensure employee data is always protected.

Cloud Backup for Windows and MacOS Endpoints

Cloud Backup and Recovery in Action – Massive Multimedia Library

Kim Komando is one of America’s most successful radio hosts and web entrepreneurs. Her weekly three-hour technology show is carried on over 450 stations across the country and hundreds more around the world, reaching 6.5 million listeners. Each episode is video-recorded for on-demand viewing. Every month the show adds 2.8 TB of content to its extensive playback library.

The show uses Wasabi hot cloud storage to protect its massive video library.  Wasabi helps the broadcaster extend its on-premises network-attached storage investments, while eliminating the hassles and delays of its old tape-based backup solution.

Read the Case Study

You can use cloud storage for inexpensive, efficient and reliable long-term data retention.  Many businesses are required by law to maintain customer records and financial data for years. Compliance violations can result in legal actions and stiff fines.

Many companies use LTO (linear-tape open) tapes and offsite vaulting services for long-term data preservation.  But duplicating data to tape wastes time and resources. The monthly media costs and vault service fees can quickly add up. And depending on your service plan, it can take hours or even days to retrieve tapes from an offsite vault. This usage falls under the inactive archive class of data traditionally, but this legacy trade-off of speed to retrieve data from your archive and the “cheap” cost of LTO compared to on-premises disks, no longer has the winning hand when considering modern day solutions for long-term data retention.

Cloud storage provides a fast and simple alternative to traditional long-term data retention approaches. Cloud storage eliminates manual intervention and retrieval delays. You can move data to the cloud automatically based on business rules.  And with next-generation cloud storage services like Wasabi you can access your archived data immediately (what the industry often calls “active archiving”) –with no expedited retrieval fees.

Long-Term Data Retention in Action – Police Body-Cam and Dash-Cam Videos

Law enforcement agencies are rolling out body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras to enhance public safety and improve crime-fighting.  But many are struggling to preserve video evidence. Body and dash camera programs can easily generate thousands of hours of video every week.  All that footage must be securely stored and easily accessible for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and for use in ongoing investigations.  Some content, like evidence in homicide cases, must be retained permanently. But many police departments lack the staff, budget and expertise to preserve video evidence on their own.

Managed service provider Novus Insight uses Wasabi hot cloud storage to power a managed video evidence preservation service for law enforcement agencies.  The solution lets police departments cost-effectively retain massive video libraries in the cloud, while ensuring compliance with stringent Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) security regulations. Novus helps law enforcement agencies jumpstart body-cam and dash-cam programs, and avoid backing up videos to tape or disk by hand.

Read the Case Study

Law enforcement agencies are rolling out body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras to enhance public safety and improve crime-fighting.  But many are struggling to preserve video evidence. Body and dash camera programs can easily generate thousands of hours of video every week.  All that footage must be securely stored and easily accessible for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and for use in ongoing investigations.  Some content, like evidence in homicide cases, must be retained permanently. But many police departments lack the staff, budget and expertise to preserve video evidence on their own.  

Managed service provider Novus Insight uses Wasabi hot cloud storage to power a managed video evidence preservation service for law enforcement agencies.  The solution lets police departments cost-effectively retain massive video libraries in the cloud, while ensuring compliance with stringent Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) security regulations. Novus helps law enforcement agencies jumpstart body-cam and dash-cam programs, and avoid backing up videos to tape or disk by hand.

You can archive infrequently accessed data to the cloud to reclaim expensive on-premises storage capacity and better align storage costs with data value. Studies show that 80 percent of data is rarely accessed within months of creation. Yet most businesses retain dormant data alongside active data on expensive on-premises storage platforms.

Maintaining infrequently accessed data on primary storage squanders storage capacity and budget.  It also impairs data protection by expanding backup file sizes and reducing the number of applications you can back up overnight.

You can use third-party data archiving applications to automatically move dormant files to the cloud. By moving infrequently accessed data to the cloud you can conserve NAS/SAN/DAS capacity and avoid expensive hardware upgrades.  You can also shrink backup images for better RPOs and RTOs.

Cloud Active Archiving For Traditional On-Premises Storage (NAS/SAN/DAS)

Cloud Active Archiving in Action in the Media & Entertainment Industry

Managing multimedia content is a major challenge for Media & Entertainment companies. Many are having a difficult time keeping pace with constantly-expanding video libraries.

Storing massive video collections on disk or network-attached storage can be prohibitively expensive.  Some production firms archive older content to tape to free up primary storage capacity and save money. But it can take hours to retrieve videos from tape, which is not exactly practical if you are producing a live sporting event or news broadcast.

Video production company 7 Wonders Cinema uses Wasabi hot cloud storage to archive its vast video library.  The solution helps the M&E firm reclaim expensive hard-drive space and avoid frequent hardware upgrades, while providing instant access to archived content.  Active-archiving helps 7 Wonders reduce expenses, increase business agility (the firm can quickly respond to last-minute client requests) and improve customer satisfaction.

Read the Case Study

Managing multimedia content is a major challenge for Media & Entertainment companies. Many are having a difficult time keeping pace with constantly-expanding video libraries.

Storing massive video collections on disk or network-attached storage can be prohibitively expensive.  Some production firms archive older content to tape to free up primary storage capacity and save money. But it can take hours to retrieve videos from tape, which is not exactly practical if you are producing a live sporting event or news broadcast.

Video production company 7 Wonders Cinema uses Wasabi hot cloud storage to archive its vast video library.  The solution helps the M&E firm reclaim expensive hard-drive space and avoid frequent hardware upgrades, while providing instant access to archived content.  Active-archiving helps 7 Wonders reduce expenses, increase business agility (the firm can quickly respond to last-minute client requests) and improve customer satisfaction.

You can combine cloud storage and on-premises storage infrastructure to create virtual, instantly scalable resource pools for greater flexibility and economics.  You can use third-party virtual storage infrastructure solutions to build elastic storage fabrics that extend from the corporate data center to the cloud—with unified programming and administrative interfaces.  

These software-defined solutions provide abstract APIs that decouple applications from the underlying storage technology. Using administratively defined policies, applications can automatically write data to a particular on-prem or cloud platform based on security requirements, cost constraints or performance needs.

Elastic storage fabrics bring cloud agility, scalability and cost savings to the corporate data center.

Elastic Storage Fabric with On-Prem and Cloud Resources

You can use cloud storage to support data center modernization, relocation or consolidation projects.  Many businesses are upgrading and converging on-premises IT infrastructure and consolidating data centers to contain costs, simplify operations or support private cloud initiatives.

Migrating data from one data center to another can be a manually intensive, time-consuming proposition using tape or disk.  Cloud storage provides an efficient alternative to traditional data migration approaches. You can use the cloud as transitional storage to streamline the migration.  Post-migration you can use cloud storage to augment your new infrastructure.

Cloud storage can function as an anchor point for the migration.  As shown in the diagram below, you can:

1)      Back up legacy data centers to the cloud

2)      Download data from the cloud to the new data centers

3)      Validate the new IT systems

4)      Gracefully decommission old IT systems

After the transition is complete you can continue to use the new cloud storage service for backup and recovery, active archiving or long-term data retention to protect and extend your next-generation data center investments.

Transitional Storage for DC Modernization, Relocation or Consolidation Projects

You can introduce cloud storage in an incremental fashion to support new applications as part of a “cap-and-grow” strategy.  You can use on-premises storage equipment for legacy applications and add cloud storage services as you roll out new applications.  With a cap-and-grow approach you can avoid disruptive rip-and-replace upgrades, transition legacy applications over time and gradually phase out legacy storage platforms on your own terms.

Wasabi hot cloud storage is extremely affordable, fast and reliable cloud object storage for any purposeincluding hybrid storage.  Unlike first-generation cloud storage services with confusing storage tiers and complex pricing schemes, Wasabi is easy to understand and cost-effective to scale. One product, with predictable and straightforward pricing, supports virtually every cloud storage use case.

Quite simply, Wasabi hot cloud storage is the industry’s most economical and highest-performing cloud storage service. Specifically conceived to make cloud storage a utility like electricity, Wasabi is inexpensive, simple and dependable.

Advantages of using Wasabi for hybrid storage include:

Commodity pricing

Wasabi hot cloud storage costs a flat $.0059/GB/month.   Compare that to $.023/GB/month for Amazon S3 Standard, $.026/GB/month for Google Multi-Regional and $.046/GB/month for Azure RA-GRS Hot.

Unlike AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Azure we don’t impose extra fees to retrieve data from storage (egress fees).  And we don’t charge extra fees for PUT, GET, DELETE or other API calls.

Read our New Economics of Cloud Storage tech brief Wasabi Feature

 

Superior performance
Wasabi’s parallelized system architecture delivers a faster performance advantage over first-generation cloud-storage services, with significantly faster time-to-first-byte speeds.

Download our Performance Benchmark report for additional information Wasabi Feature

Robust data durability and protection
Wasabi hot cloud storage is engineered to deliver extreme data durability, integrity and security. An optional data immutability capability prevents accidental deletions and administrative mishaps; protects against malware, bugs and viruses; and improves regulatory compliance.

Read our Strong Security tech brief Wasabi Feature
Read our Data Immutability tech brief Wasabi Feature

You can use Wasabi and third-party data management solutions to address all the hybrid storage use cases we’ve reviewed, including:

 

Backup and recovery – use Wasabi to protect on-premises storage platforms for a fraction of the cost of alternative solutions.  

Long-term data retention – use Wasabi for affordable and durable long-term preservation for rarely accessed data to ensure compliance with corporate policies or government regulations.  

Active archiving – automatically move infrequently accessed data to Wasabi to free up expensive on-site storage capacity and to align storage costs with data value.

Elastic storage fabrics – combine Wasabi with on-prem platforms and other cloud storage services to form an instantly and infinitely scalable, virtual storage pool.

Data center modernization– use Wasabi for transitional storage to support mergers and acquisitions, or data center relocation, upgrade or consolidation initiatives.

Cap-and-grow – keep existing applications on local storage and use Wasabi as primary storage for new applications.

Wasabi hot cloud storage is bit-compatible with Amazon’s S3 API, which has emerged as a de facto object storage API. You can use S3-compliant data management solutions to support a variety of hybrid storage and multi-cloud applications.

Wasabi’s Performance and Certification Team (PACT) has validated interoperability with a number of third-party data management products. For a complete list of PACT-certified vendors and applications, visit wasabi.com/interop.

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What if you could store ALL of your data in the cloud affordably?

NOW YOU CAN. Wasabi is here to guide you through your migration to the enterprise cloud and to work with you to determine which cloud storage strategy is right for your organization.

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