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Replace your NAS with cloud storage: the 8 key requirements

Randy Chou | July 20, 2015
This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

      - Granular component-level locking that works across sites and can lock portions of files rather than just entire files. When you're working across sites, the cloud can't be an intermediary for file lock data. There needs to be direct connectivity between sites to keep data current and maintain effective byte-level locking.

* Better than local security: Look for four security capabilities: encryption across the file system; secure key management -- keys should never be sent to or stored in the cloud; lock management integration with other security tools; and compliance with relevant security standards like FIPS 140-2.

* Flexibility to change: You never know when you might need to change cloud providers -- remember Nirvanix? You might also want to use two cloud providers, essentially using one as a secondary site. A global file system should support both scenarios.

There are many companies already using the cloud for primary storage for multiple sites. For example, C&S Companies and Mead & Hunt both support Autodesk Revit and CAD files in the cloud for distributed project teams; Electronic Arts runs intensive software development applications across 40 sites with file data in cloud storage; and Milwaukee Electric Tool uses cloud storage for all its files, but was driven by the need to collaborate on CAD and video files between the US and China.  

Many complex applications and data will continue to need a local SAN or NAS -- or something that behaves exactly like one. Data security, application type, file size or complexity and other concerns mean some data needs to stay in the organization. But the costs and inflexibility of traditional storage -- particularly when application data is shared across multiple offices -- are slowing businesses down. Finding a cloud storage solution that supports the requirements outlined here can make cloud a primary storage option in addition to the DR, back-up and archiving role that it has played to date.


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