Fear of security breach, loss of control and access to critical data are major concerns, according to the SNIA/SSG-NOW study. Perpetuating these issues is the lack of a standard for public cloud data interchange. Each provider has its own version of an HTTP command structure that is foreign to existing applications. Modying existing applications to use a proprietary public cloud is not feasible, so this relegates public cloud to only those applications that are already cloud ready.
SaaS providers and Microsoft, for its Exchange email offering, have transparent interchanges developed and massively deployed, for example. Likewise, data protection and disaster recovery products that have a public cloud interface are available from a number of vendors and cloud service providers such as Nasuni and TwinStrata.
WNS Global is addressing the security issue, according to Kapoor. "At WNS, our primary concern is the security of data. All customers are segregated first at the network level and then, using technologies such as Multi-stor, we make sure there is complete segregation at the storage level," he says. "As a result there is no part of the infrastructure that overlaps between customers."
So what will it take to make cloud storage viable for applications beyond e-mail, CRM and data protection? The answer is simple: Cheap bandwidth.
As tablets and smart phones become everyday business tools, new applications in many organizations will embrace browser-based HTTP application interfaces to primary storage. As more of these devices are deployed in business-critical applications served up over the Web, in a way, cloud storage automatically becomes primary storage, particularly if the storage is not maintained on the local device.
This is a good thing, until you run out of bandwidth. SSG-NOW is involved with a number of companies that are working at various levels within the TCP/IP infrastructure and it is our opinion that there is plenty of headroom in the existing and developing network infrastructure to handle the increased loads that the new generation of client devices will require.
In Search of a Standard
In addition to bandwidth, respondents to the SNIA/SSG-NOW survey were adamant that standards development is essential. Nearly four out of five respondents (78%) indicated that standards were either very important (47%) or important (31%) to their future deployment. The greatest support (53%) was for the SNIA CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface) standard.