Report: Large companies shun cloud for some things it does badly at great expense

External clouds are too expensive and inaccessible for large-scale storage

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According to a report published earlier this month, only 10 percent of large companies plan to use external clouds for storage, "even for lower tiers, including archive."

The report (PDF), from market researchers TheInfoPro, projects big increases in spending among the Fortune 1000 – a net 24 percent increase in dollar amount, though 44 percent of the companies plan to increase spending and 31 percent to remain flat.

Most of that increase will go for SAN gear and virtual-server backup, as well as automated tiering – which is designed to improve cost efficiency as well as performance by using SSD as the fast-access top level for files used by a lot of people all the time.

Files used less frequently shift to cheaper levels of storage ranging from arrays of disk in a SAN to NAS boxes, to storage appliances, optical disk, paper, clay tablets and eventually the vague memory of an older guy pushing a dolly around the data warehouse who tells you long stories about his grandkids before admitting whatever data you're looking for is either lost or deleted.

(The reason for a 24 percent increase in storage spending, of course, is because no corporate data is ever lost or deleted, no matter what the sad old guy says. Most big companies are so afraid of not having a piece of data they're unexpectedly called on by a court to produce that they don't pay attention to end-of-life issues, so they let data hang around for years after it's outlived its usefulness except for the potential to be embarrassing or expensive in court. You're allowed to delete this stuff; check with the records-management specialists you decided it was too expensive to hire last year. )

"Server virtualization transformed storage architectures and cloud computing is having the same impact," according to a statement in the release from InfoPro storage analyst Marco Coulter.

He's right, but not in a good way.

Virtual-server snapshots have all but replaced regular server backups at half the companies surveyed, the report shows. The only real problem with that is the potential to lose access to data if the standardized formats for VM snapshots changes, which is a good bet in a market that is still immature and whose data formats are changing quickly.

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