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SwiftStack's 4 steps to moving enterprise data to the cloud

​Public cloud infrastructure is increasingly the ‘go-to’ storage option for organisations of all sizes.

However, SwiftStack says those with hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data find the shift to cloud more complex, disruptive, and inflexible than it is presumed.

While the business values of cloud storage are obvious, large data volumes can present significant challenges for migration, compatibility and agility.

“Pricing based on consumption, elastic scalability, improved collaboration, and other key advantages of the public cloud are attainable goals, but those with large data volumes must be mindful of their unique environment,” says Joe Arnold, SwiftStack president and chief product officer.

“Fortunately these organisations will also find that the right cloud data management tactics and tools will unleash more value from that data, and respond as business needs and workloads evolve.”

SwiftStack have provided a list that details how to transition even petabyte-scale data to cloud environments in just four steps:

1. ‘Drift and Shift’ to cloud-native storage

According to SwiftStack, data that is not yet in the cloud is stored in silos, each with specific data access protocols which can make it extremely complicated to ‘lift and shift’ to the public cloud.

SwiftStack recommends a slight modification of the term to ‘drift and shift’ where organisations shift storage to a cloud-native format that uses on-premises storage. The data remains where it is so this step is both low cost, low risk and can be done over time, achieving the business benefits of cloud storage while having the data ready to move to public cloud when the time is right.

2. Automate operations

Organisations can make it possible for even a single administrator to manage a multi-petabyte hybrid cloud infrastructure by utilising data management software with built-in automation that operates based on policies set and controlled by IT.

Define the service objectives for protection, synchronization, location, access, capacity usage, etc., and let the software control the placement of data and its delivery to applications. SwiftStack stresses the importance of this step, because as the business demands evolve, so can the policies controlled by IT.

3. Stay flexible

According to SwiftStack, all major public cloud providers use object storage platforms for long-term retention and governance of the end user’s data (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Rackspace, for example).

There are enough differences and proprietary technology that means moving a petabyte or even just a part of a petabyte from one provider to another may not be possible. IT can stay in full control with flexible data management across all locations and clouds that is achieved with cross-cloud platform compatibility.

4. Metadata mastery

SwiftStack asserts legacy storage like SAN and NAS systems just weren’t built with metadata in mind. However, cloud-native storage retains metadata with the object data, rather than in a separate database only its own application can read.

Cloud storage is the ideal medium to take advantage of metadata as it enables users to harness, organise and analyse metadata associated with petabytes of business data – something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

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