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Over the last five years, as they rushed into the public cloud, many organisations moved their data as well as their applications. At the time, it seemed like the logical step to take, but as IT and the larger organisations got more experience and knowledge about cloud services, the shortcomings of storing critical corporate information in public cloud services became apparent. Now, much of that data is being pulled back from public cloud services to reside instead in hybrid cloud infrastructure or on-premises data centres. A recent IDC study found that 80% of organisations are planning on repatriating workloads.
Security certainly remains a concern, but it is not the single driver of this trend. Four other critical factors are behind the reassessment of data storage in the public cloud:
· Access to data in a timely and consistent manner—Real-time data integration is becoming the norm as more and more new apps use microservices or Kubernetes. This isn’t possible without the necessary data access. In addition, many organisations are building a data layer to leverage their data assets across the business, and that demands full data visibility, mobility, and access. Some public cloud services are not up to the challenge.
· The need for better data mobility—With data being recombined in many new and different ways, it must be free from being tied to a single application silo. But when a silo is situated in a public cloud, mobility may be limited. What improves mobility is to move data into a single, consistent, hybrid cloud–enabled infrastructure.
· Increasing compliance, legal, and regulatory demands—Since the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements went into force in 2018, other jurisdictions around the world have rolled out their own privacy regimes and statutes. This has led organisations to re-evaluate where and how data is stored. In the process, they have discovered that line-of-business management teams had entered into cloud contracts without knowing the details of compliance and regulatory demands. Their conclusion has been that many public cloud services don’t provide the visibility and localised storage necessary to meet current and future compliance and regulatory regimes. Organisations that want to make compliance easier are much more likely to repatriate data.
· Cost—Various issues have cast doubt on the cost efficiency of storing data in public cloud services. A recent study by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz suggests that firms operating at scale could see their costs doubling by using public cloud. Further, many organisations have been surprised and displeased by cloud services’ data egress charges. A recent CIO article took note of one case in which the data egress charges were four times the expected level.
In addition to these issues, both on-premises and hybrid cloud solutions have seen substantial advancements that make them competitive alternatives to public cloud storage.
New hybrid and on-premises technology solutions change the game
When the public cloud services first came on the scene, their economic and operational benefits were a substantial advantage over legacy infrastructure. Since then, however, the differences have been greatly reduced. For example, better operational platforms for hybrid and on-premises options, such as VMware Cloud Foundation, flatten the speed and utilisation differences, offering IT a single comprehensive operational environment for diverse IT resources.
Key infrastructure vendors such as Dell Technologies have introduced programs that deliver the same usage-based pricing as cloud, new-hardware deployment that is an order of magnitude (or two) faster than legacy processes, and automated management of operational activities such as patching. All of this is available with cost certainty that matches cloud services. In short, it is now possible to implement hybrid cloud or on-premises infrastructure in much the same way as a public cloud service. These cloud-like options mitigate the advantages of public cloud while providing the organisation with much greater control.
At the same time, using disparate and self-contained public cloud services creates issues that get in the way of next-generation digital business. For example:
· Data silos—Organisations nowadays want their data treated as a corporate resource that will be reused and shared among many different applications. In some cases, public cloud service usage results in data silos that make the reuse of this data in new workloads more complex and expensive.
· Latency—Quite often, cloud data has latencies that on-premises or hybrid cloud data doesn’t. This can create timing problems. In addition, for new applications (Industry 4.0, sensor networks, AR/VR, etc.) that demand edge infrastructure to operate, the latency in public cloud services is unacceptable.
· Visibility—While nearly all public cloud services have tools for data visibility, they usually do not work well with tools used in the hybrid cloud or in on-premises infrastructure. When data visibility cannot be automated with a single solution, it negatively impacts both development and operations teams.
· Inconsistency—Perhaps the single biggest strategic trend in IT operations is moving to automated operations. Soon, many of the daily tasks of running infrastructure will be handled by software. If public cloud services don’t seamlessly integrate with the automation tools, exceptions arise that need human attention and reduce the benefits of automation.
Dell Technologies’ Apex storage solutions deliver modern cloud storage infrastructure
Dell Technologies Apex offering is a game-changing way to bring all the flexibility, cost efficiency, speed, and reliability of the public cloud to on-premises and hybrid cloud deployments. It offers a “pay-as-you-go” pricing model to deliver new levels of cost efficiency. It also is designed to dramatically cut the time necessary to deploy additional storage infrastructure compared to legacy approaches. This solution supports multi-edge and multi-cloud models that solve data latency problems and provides the control needed to meet data sovereignty requirements. It also provides the flexibility to meet existing and future compliance requirements for personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data.
The validity of this new offering was documented in a recent IDC survey that interviewed Apex customers. It found the following benefits:
· 39% had lower three-year cost of operations
· 60% experienced faster IT resource deployment
· 88% suffered less unplanned downtime
· 38% reported more efficient IT Infrastructure teams
· 34% saw a reduction in buffer capacity
Learn more about Dell Technologies and VMware solutions here.