Converging storage in a multi-cloud environment
The current business climate highlighted the importance of being digital-ready when it comes to business processes and systems. But even though companies across Africa have always been innovative in overcoming infrastructural challenges in terms of operations, events of the past several months have necessitated a different way of thinking. This requires leveraging digital innovations to minimise reliance on physical appliances, instead embracing hybrid-cloud capabilities in more secure and effective ways.
“Going hybrid provides organisations across industry sectors irrespective of geographic location with the best of both worlds. Sensitive data can still be kept on-premise while the rest can be shifted to the cloud and deliver more business value. Fundamental to this is understanding the storage implications of adopting a hybrid cloud model,” says Anthony Njoroge, Product Manager at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.
As with any technology, there are a multitude of options available to companies across the continent. Fortunately, with the digital-first approach of Westcon-Comstor and its vendor partners that include NetApp, this does not have to be a challenge. For the hybrid cloud, there are five storage solutions to consider.
Firstly, primacy storage array integration with the public cloud. This sees on-premise external controller-based (ECB) storage arrays connecting to the public cloud for tiering, archiving, or backup. Even though this approach might have limited use cases, onboarding is easy as companies do not have to change their existing infrastructure.
The cloud storage gateway approach is one where enterprise datacentres are deployed as hardware appliances that store data in a centralised repository either on-premise or in the cloud. The risk with this is the potential for vendor lock-in and some performance challenges even though the data will be globally accessible and consistent.
Option three is deploying primage storage in colocation facilities with direct access to the public cloud. These facilities host ECB storage arrays near cloud providers providing low-latency access to the cloud. However, the costs can be high, and automation can suffer.
Up next is software-defined storage (SDS) that can be deployed and span across on-premise and public cloud environments. This provides the business with flexibility, a broad set of use cases, and data consistency despite the potential costs and complexity of the environment.
And finally, there is the hybrid cloud storage approach that forms part of the platform. This integrated software-defined data centre delivers integration with infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings. While the upfront investment can be costly, it does deliver a turnkey approach with integrated support.
The next step
How organisations choose to embark on the hybrid cloud journey will therefore be determined by their unique business requirements. But wherever possible, a company must consider how best to future-proof its infrastructure to protect against external challenges such as the recent pandemic has shown.
“This is where the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution from NetApp and Cisco provides an effective on-ramp to the public cloud. It integrates advanced cloud services such as backup, synchronisation, disaster recovery, and tiering, to deliver a multi-cloud converged infrastructure stack. And because it the solution is standardised, it works across all the data centre workloads of the organisation ensuring flexibility and peace of mind for a digital-centric way of working,” adds Anthony.