The Cloud beyond and around Data Storage

Like many people, one of my earliest experiences with the cloud was data storage. Having extra disk space for backing up files and making it easier to share files with others was a major selling point. Plus the sale price was zero since it used a freemium model offering some free storage to entice you to purchase more if, and when, you needed it. In recent years, more free storage is being offered and the prices for buying additional storage have dropped considerably. In fact, there is a growing trend of cloud providers offering cheap and unlimited data storage. (Rhonda Sherwood recently blogged concerns about this trend.)

Some cloud service providers (CSPs) that started out as cloud storage providers evolved into providers of what is now referred to as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Of course, IaaS involves much more than data storage. IaaS also involves the physical or virtual machines the data is stored on, as well as the computing resources for running the machines, handling tasks such as provisioning, firewalls, load balancing, and scaling up/down as requirements change. IaaS enables the deployment and monetization of a dynamic portfolio of IT services via the cloud, decreasing costs, increasing flexibility, driving innovation, and speeding the deployment of new applications, especially for analyzing all of that data stored in the cloud.

A robust IaaS solution should also enable the management of hybrid environments that can leverage and extend the current IT environment of an organization (e.g., the containers on Bluemix that IBM announced at the InterConnect 2015 conference) while helping to ensure the security and compliance of corporate and customer data, protecting it from unauthorized access.

CSPs looking to capture new revenue streams and improve profit margins are expanding their service capabilities to include platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) either on their own, or, as is becoming more common, through their partnership with managed service providers (MSPs).

Just like the old joke about people robbing banks because that’s where the money is, it’s not surprising that more companies are building and/or leveraging IT services in the cloud because that’s where more and more of our data is. Which is why the cloud has not only evolved beyond data storage, but around data storage.

This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.