Cloud Storage

Cloud storage definition

Cloud storage describes an IT infrastructure deployment model where storage resources reside in the cloud instead of being housed in data centers on-premises. Cloud storage can be used together with SaaS applications and services; cloud-native workloads such as databases or web services; and other workloads that run in a cloud-based compute instance.  In addition, cloud storage deployments may be part of hybrid environments where primary storage remains onsite and a secondary backup copy is sent to the cloud. In these environments, cloud storage services are utilized for long-term data retention or as a business resilience tool to restore data as needed to keep business humming after disrupting events.

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is a solution for storage that resides in the cloud. There are some notable advantages over on-premises storage options, including easy scalability without needing to purchase or maintain infrastructure.  The most common type of cloud storage is used for storing unstructured data and is accessed via a REST API interface. This type of storage offers different access tiers, which allow you to store data in the most cost-effective manner. These tiers are typically referred to as hot, cold, and archive.  The Hot tier is optimized for storing data that is accessed frequently, while Cold is optimized for storing data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days.  The Archive tier is optimized for storing data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days with flexible latency requirements (on the order of hours).

Online cloud storage also relieves IT from the burdens of capacity planning, purchasing, managing, operating, and maintaining owned resources. With on-demand consumption, companies can shift upfront capital investments to budget-friendly operating expenses.

Cloud storage supports all the main storage types: file, block, and object storage. Object storage is the most widely deployed type used for primary cloud storage and for a variety of archiving levels. Cloud object storage offers massive scalability and extremely high eleven 9s durability – or in other words, 99.999999999% reliability.

Cloud storage is provided in an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model and enables simpler storage management with a pay-as-you-go consumption pricing model that lowers IT (Information Technology) costs. Cloud storage can be purchased from a public cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure for instance, or as a managed storage service from a third-party cloud service provider. For example, cloud storage can be purchased through a data Backup as a Service vendor — which can further simplify cloud storage adoption and management.

What is the cloud storage process, and how does it work?

Unlike on-premises physical storage, customers purchase cloud storage capacity from a cloud provider who owns, manages, and operates the storage resources. Cloud providers offer storage capacity as a service with a utility pricing model and global availability. Cloud storage providers also have security tools that limit access to these resources to authorized users. The cloud providers are also responsible for managing storage capacity, availability, security, and compliance. The main advantages of cloud storage services are that they can be up in minutes with no upfront investments, scale on-demand, and are available anywhere 24/7/365.

As enterprises increasingly rely on cloud storage, it is good to know that all one needs to do is acquire the required cloud storage services and start using them immediately. While cloud storage is simple to purchase, and starting using, having a solid strategy in mind to include tiers, egress fees, network requirements and so forth is essential to a cloud storage plan.

Why is cloud storage important?

The amount of data created daily is staggering, and all of it must be stored and protected against loss. By 2025, it is estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day.

In addition to having elastic scalability that adapts to business requirements, online cloud storage offers better protections against costly data losses that can be detrimental to businesses. The average size of a data breach in 2019 was estimated at 26K records, while the cost per lost record was $150. The impact of data loss on businesses lasts for years after a disruptive event. Without robust cloud storage services and data protection, it is a matter of time before data loss and application failures occur. Without proper protection plans, businesses run the risk of revenue and abnormal customer losses. Over the past four years, the rising data breach events led to an increase in abnormal customer loss costing businesses up to $5.7 million per existing customer lost.

In short, as the risk of cyberattacks and ransomware increases, ensuring an air-gapped and immutable copy of your data is more important than ever. Cloud storage services can provide an agile, modern alternative to tape, allowing your organization to adhere to the 3-2-1 rule of data protection. (3 copies of data, in 2 locations, 1 offsite). Copies stored outside of customer accounts may provide protection against accidental or malicious threat actors that have compromised customer accounts by providing enhanced security and regulatory compliance. 

The cloud services can also help to relieve your IT from the burdens of capacity planning, acquiring, deploying, and managing storage resources. Finally, online cloud storage can lower your infrastructure costs and shift expenses to an OPEX financial model. Cloud storage services enhance your business preparedness and allow you to quickly bring it back to life after a disruptive event.

Benefits of cloud storage

Digital data and applications are the drivers of modern business growth. Protecting critical workloads and their associated data is vital for business survival. Cloud storage services offer companies an easy ramp to the cloud with rapid onboarding and no upfront investments.

  • Elastic flexibility. With cloud storage, companies gain elastic scalability that can adapt to their business requirements. The cloud resources are generally immediately available, recover quickly and adapt to business needs with minimal effort from the client’s IT teams.
  • High Availability. Enterprises can also benefit from the global and multi-regional presence of cloud storage. Disaster recovery availability often jumps to over 99% with deployments in two cloud regions. On the other hand, on-premises failover setups using the same data center default to the lowest common denominator. Cloud storage high availability can help drive business resilience and customer satisfaction
  • Security and compliance. It is worth noting that organizations need to not dedicate resources to security and ransomware protection with cloud storage services as cloud providers are often responsible for security and safety with an air-gapped and immutable copy of the data. Cloud solutions can encrypt customers’ data in flight and at rest for robust protection. Cloud services can also manage access with role-based authentication controls using single sign-on (SSO) and security assertion markup language (SAML). Copies stored outside of customer accounts provide protection against accidental or malicious threat actors that have compromised customer accounts.   With cloud storage, companies can work to maintain regulatory compliance with a wide range of supported standards on the cloud, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2 and ISO 27001. 
  • Cost-optimized operations. Cloud storage can help protect existing investments by extending a storage presence to the cloud, thus opening the door for adaptable and immediately available storage resources. Organizations can save time and money with cloud storage as providers are typically responsible for operating, managing, and protecting the cloud storage resources. IT teams can quickly shift their attention and budgets to more valuable business initiatives as cloud storage frees them from owning and operating storage burdens. Utilizing cloud storage services can also free resources tied up in on-premises infrastructure and may shift upfront CAPEX to budget-friendly operating expenses.

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Common use cases for cloud storage

Organizations of all sizes can benefit from online cloud storage to ignite business growth and deliver superior customer experience.

  • Business continuity. Take advantage of cloud storage’s immediate availability and give your business highly scalable storage resources that adapt to your business needs. Start with plans that best suit your needs and grow with your business. Pay for what you consume and not what you feel you need during peak times.
  • Protection and compliance. Your cloud storage usually comes with a level of protection and security that can protect data with encryption. Security allows you to manage access to your resources with role-based authentication controls for advanced security. Unlike on-premises storage, online cloud storage typically benefits from cloud providers’ compliance capabilities that can help keep you compliant with regulatory requirements.
  • Cost-optimized operations. Stretch the life of existing IT investments with cloud storage that can be easy to acquire and consume. Companies can protect on-premises data with cloud backup that is scalable, available, secured, and compliant. Enterprises can also help lower their TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) with utility pricing that ends the need for extended IT planning cycles and frees the IT team to focus on more valuable work. Cloud storage high availability can enhance customers’ experiences and contribute to loyalty and potential for business growth.

Does Metallic offer cloud storage?

Yes! Metallic offers a few ways to consume cloud storage with solutions that meet customers’ business needs. Metallic Cloud Storage is a no-hassle option for quickly deploying cloud storage as a backup target and can be purchased as a cloud storage target for Metallic Database Backup, Metallic File & Object Backup, and Metallic VM & Kubernetes Backup. Customers can also bring their own storage for these offerings if they need to leverage existing investments or on-premises backup targets for fast short-term recovery of on-premises workloads, thanks to our unique SaaS plus model. In these cases, customers can still add Metallic Cloud Storage as a simple secondary storage option. Metallic also offers all-inclusive unlimited Metallic Cloud Storage for Microsoft Office 365 Backup and Metallic Endpoint Backup offerings. 

An additional option for customers of Commvault Backup & Recovery solutions is the fully managed Metallic Cloud Storage Service (MCSS). MCSS provides a fully integrated cloud storage target for Commvault Backup and Recovery software and HyperScale X appliance, leveraging the power of Microsoft Azure for ultimate security and scale, with a single pane of glass management through the Commvault Command Center. MCSS can be a key part of a company’s ransomware recovery readiness strategy, offering air-gapped secondary cloud storage that’s up in minutes.

Cloud storage options from Metallic help companies extend total protection for data from cloud-native to on-premises and can speed cloud adoption as part of your IT strategy.