Comedian Steven Wright once said, "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"
For your small to medium sized business customers, finding enough storage space to hold all the files they've acquired is a real problem. Some companies invest in larger hard drives. Others prefer external storage devices like thumb drives or compact disks. Dumping entire folders worth of old files in order to make space for new information, may seem like the only option. That's where cloud storage comes into play. Here's a quick primer to help you answer your customer's questions about cloud storage.
Q. What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud Storage refers to saving data to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. Instead of storing information to the computer's hard drive or other local storage device, it's saved to a remote data facility. The Internet provides the connection to the secondary data site..
Q. What are the Advantages of Cloud Storage over Traditional Storage Approaches?
Cloud storage has some significant advantages over traditional data storage. For example, files stored on a cloud storage system, are accessible from any location that has Internet access. You wouldn't need to carry around a physical storage device or use the same computer to save and retrieve your information. Additionally, data is indexed and catalogued prior to archiving to allow rapid data retrieval. Perhaps the most important advantage is that important data is situated in a highly secure facility to protect it from theft, loss, or destruction.
Q. We already have a tape backup solution. Why is cloud storage a better option?
Having tape backups is a common component of many organizations' data protection strategy, especially for archive and retrieval compliance purposes. However, depending on the nature of the disaster, it may not be possible to restore data or applications from your backup tapes held at an offsite facility. Not having to restore from an offsite tape backup can lower costs, save time and mitigate risks associated with transporting backup tapes to and from a secondary location.
Q. So cloud storage is convenient and offers more flexibility, but how does it work?
There are hundreds of different cloud storage systems. Some have a very specific focus, such as storing digital pictures. Others are available to store all forms of digital data. Some cloud storage systems are small operations, while others are so large that the physical equipment can fill up an entire warehouse. The facilities that house cloud storage systems are called data centers
Q. Generally, what are the requirements for cloud storage?
At its most basic level, a cloud storage system needs just one data server connected to the Internet. A client (e.g., a computer user subscribing to a cloud storage service) sends copies of files over the Internet to the data server, which then records the information.
When the client wishes to retrieve the information, he or she accesses the data server through a Web-based interface. The server then either sends the files back to the client or allows the client to access and manipulate the files on the server itself.
Q. Why is redundancy important?
Cloud storage systems generally rely on hundreds of data servers. Because computers occasionally require maintenance or repair, it's important to store the same information on multiple machines. This is called redundancy
. Without redundancy, a cloud storage system couldn't ensure clients that they could access their information at any given time. Most systems store the same data on servers that use different power supplies. That way, clients can access their data even if one power supply fails.
Q. How does storage help with back-ups?
Not all cloud storage clients are worried about running out of storage space. They use cloud storage as a way to create backups of data. If something happens to the client's computer system, the data and files survive off-site. It's a digital-age variation of "don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Q. What are some real life examples of cloud storage?
You're probably familiar with several providers of cloud storage services, though you might not think of them in that way. Here are a few well-known companies that offer some form of cloud storage:
Q. What's different about Geminare's Cloud Storage solution.
- Google Docs allows users to upload documents, spreadsheets and presentations to Google's data servers. Users can edit files using a Google application. Users can also publish documents so that other people can read them or even make edits, which means Google Docs is also an example of cloud computing.h.
- Sites like Flickr and Picasa host millions of digital photographs. Their users create online photo albums by uploading pictures directly to the services' servers.
- YouTube hosts millions of user-uploaded video files.
- Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace allow members to post pictures and other content. All of that content is stored on the respective site's servers.
There are lots of advantages to storing data in the cloud - it's scalable, reliable, fast and cost-effective. But what happens when your servers go down due to a planned or unplanned outage? How can you access your stored data?
Geminare offers the first cloud-based storage solution for SMBs that offers continuous server availability. Our Auto Failover capability means the ability to provide immediate access to your server files even when your primary onsite server is down.
Enterprise-class block-level replication provides the ability to instantaneously failover and failback when your file server is restored.
Our partnership with Amazons provides a robust and efficient archiving component that indexes and catalogues files prior to archiving. This provides "On Demand" retrieval of archived files regardless of the age of the file. Files can be retrieved as simply and quickly as performing a browser web search. The partner is not required to spend hours or days retrieving archived files on the client's behalf.