In his recent Forbes article, "Storage With an Edge," Tom Coughlin writes about how ClearSky is using both the cloud and the edge to overcome network bottlenecks and provide storage-as-a-service. The article seems to be part of a trend, given that we saw a similar piece last month from TechTarget, which quoted numerous analysts saying that in 2019, the ability to provide storage-as-service will become table stakes for storage vendors.
Coughlin begins by laying out the problem: "There is always a bottleneck in computing. It may be the network used for moving data around. It may be the speed of access to data on storage. It may even be the processing capability itself."
We couldn’t agree more. The storage industry must overcome these bottlenecks to provide an alternative to traditional storage, because the on-prem model is broken.
For starters, capacity is a huge problem. The exponential growth of data forces IT to make a terrible choice: buy more than twice the storage they’ll actually need for at least 18 months or continually deploy new boxes. Another issue is providing multiple locations and clouds with access, because moving data trapped in on-prem systems is expensive and cumbersome. As for protecting all that data? Not only is that costly and complex, but getting to RTOs and RPOs of near zero is pretty much impossible without completely breaking the IT budget.
Storage Needs the Edge
Enterprise IT is looking for alternative storage solutions, and, naturally, they’re looking at the cloud. But cloud alone is not enough. As Coughlin notes: “In the case of modern and future digital storage, balancing the need for quick access and processing of data is driving the need for core data center (cloud) resources, such as storage and memory, as well as resources at the edge of these networks.”
The cloud is a magnificent technological resource, with unlimited capacity and a highly redundant, robust architecture that’s accessible from almost anywhere. But cloud data centers are typically built in sparsely populated areas far from urban centers. This distance introduces significant latency that can cripple key applications and frustrate end users.
When the cloud is paired with the edge along with a means to intelligently move data between them, these latency issues can be overcome. ClearSky’s service moves data between on-prem appliances, the edge in a metro PoP and the cloud. Data that’s currently being used will be cached locally in a flash appliance. Hot and warm data are stored in the PoP, and a durable copy of all data is stored in the cloud.
A Service Architecture Built on Private Line
What’s more, ClearSky doesn’t rely on the public Internet for its service architecture, but instead uses private line. That might sound like it would drive up the cost, but, in fact, private line is very affordable. We’re still benefiting from the massive fiber overbuild during the late 1990s telecom boom, as Coughlin explains:
“The cost of leased dedicated network bandwidth has declined significantly faster than the price of digital storage, at least for the last few years. Furthermore, [ClearSky] said that there are a lot of unlit fiber networks still available, to keep the price of networking low. This makes the relative cost of moving data less than the cost of storing it. Thus, moving data to other locations for storage, when latency requirements drop, becomes more attractive, and is a driver of the growth in edge and cloud core storage. Bandwidth prices, especially for high speed leased fiber have been dropping faster than the price of storage in recent years.”
Coughlin’s article is yet another indication that the storage industry is rapidly coming to agree with our longstanding position: the future of storage is as-a-service.
Intrigued? Read the entire article from Tom Coughlin in Forbes. And if you want to see for yourself how ClearSky can simplify your storage infrastructure, improve security and data protection, and save you 50 percent on the total cost of storage, we’ve got you covered. Schedule a demo with us today!