As managed IT services become popular solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses in handling IT services, there’s a term that gets thrown around with increasing abandon. Businesses with little in-house IT experience might get swept away by the lofty connotations when IT consultants start to extol the benefits of a shift to the Cloud, especially when it comes to data storage. But “the Cloud” remains perhaps one of the most mysterious locations in business today.
Charlotte-based managed IT services provider Apex Technology doesn’t see the point in the Cloud remaining a mystery to it’s clients. Let’s spend some time breaking this down to see if we can demystify what managed IT service providers really mean when they tell you they want to move your on-premise servers and data storage “to the Cloud.”
The Right Cloud for the Services At Hand
The services you’re looking to procure will determine the type of Cloud-services provider that you’ll seek out. Since we’re talking about Cloud storage, we specifically want to focus our attention on how Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) vendors manage their servers and create value for their clients.
For IaaS vendors, they are focused on creating value for clients by providing storage, server, and workstation solutions that take the burden of managing hardware off of the client and provide easily and affordably scalable solutions for businesses that need to be able to scale storage and processing power with business demands. To accommodate a range of remote versus onsite storage solutions, IaaS storage Clouds can come in several infrastructure models.
If you’re looking for a service provider that handles everything remotely, you’ll likely look at a Public Cloud service provider. Service providers often act as middlemen in these situations, setting up and managing the oversight of your Cloud infrastructure as a service to you while leveraging the services of much larger providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, Google, and Microsoft Azure.
Public clouds house client data side by side in managed spaces. The scale and volume of business allow these services to provide extremely cost-effective scalability, a redundancy in systems that guarantees almost zero downtime as a point of service and requires no maintenance on the part of the client. It also comes with an extremely efficient monitoring and security infrastructure, but still requires clients to configure access and security standards for their data.
These same service providers give clients who need more secure and private storage solutions –often this is required by law or legislative requirements that dictate how data can be stored in certain industries–the same flexibility, service levels, and security but at a premium. The added cost comes with a dedicated server space that is unshared with other client data and can be located on-premise or remotely.
This approach is one of the most common, as it allows businesses to gradually transition or transition key elements of their operation to the cloud and creates flexibility in the cost model that gives clients more control over the process. This is a useful approach for when certain business functions are allowed to operate on a public cloud, but data has more strict requirements and a private option is necessary.
Types of Data Storage
Service providers have several storage architectures they make available on Cloud systems, depending on the client’s needs and how often data should be accessed.
- File-based storage works well for organizing and storing data and information in a hierarchical format. This shared file system approach is ideal for shared archived data.
- Block storage is deployed across storage area network (SAN) architectures. In this model, data fills identical raw storage containers in equal-sized blocks. Block storage is useful for databases and email services.
- Object-based storage provides structure to unstructured data such as videos, photos, files with multiple collaborators, and other bulky data. These buckets can take any shape needed by the data and scale as needed. Reliance on REST APIs improves the authentication process and allows HTTP access to data.
Apex Technology Can Take the Mystery Out of Cloud Storage
Despite the automation and remote management of resources, configuring and managing your data over the cloud still requires a level of attention and expertise often missing at the operations level. As a part of our managed IT services approach, we provide a Cloud package that gives you all of the advantages discussed above alongside the Apex Technology guarantee of quality service. Learn more about our services and how we can help your company transition seamlessly.