The Remote Office Data Storage Quandary: Is Cloud the Answer?

If you ask IT administrators about their goals for storage infrastructure at remote and/or branch office (ROBO) locations, you’ll likely hear that they want to improve application performance and, at the same time, minimize the footprint of remote office storage infrastructure.  However, maximizing performance and minimizing footprint are competing priorities and optimizing both can be a challenge.

Having a goal to remove or minimize remote office storage infrastructure makes a lot of sense. Given most remote locations no longer have dedicated IT staffing onsite, an increased and significant burden can be avoided for the administrators working at main locations.

Improving overall application performance at remote offices also makes a lot of sense to maximize productivity of remote workers. The good news?  There currently exists in the marketplace a category of devices that provides local speed data storage access with a very small footprint: cloud storage gateways. Even better, CloudArray, an enterprise storage gateway from TwinStrata, enables local speed iSCSI access to a broad choice of public cloud storage providers, private cloud storage providers and/or existing storage, representing one of the the industry’s most flexible storage solutions.

A recent 2011 ESG survey of remote office and branch office environments revealed that a third of remote offices with over 25 employees had an average of 25TB of data at each remote office, a considerable amount of storage to maintain and manage. Taking a closer look, the following pie chart breaks down remote office storage infrastructure by type:

According to the survey results, 56% of storage deployed at ROBOs consists of SAN or NAS storage, reflecting the priority for local speed data access at those locations. The tradeoff is that managing enterprise storage infrastructure at those locations can lead to a number of headaches around

  • Hardware life cycles and upgrades
  • Running out of and replenishing capacity
  • Providing backup, replication or disaster recovery for the data stored at each site

Enterprise storage gateways are a great way to consolidate remote site storage footprint to software-only installations or small form-factor appliances while, at the same time, maintaining the plug-compatibility, speed and capacity of local storage infrastructure. Moreover, consolidation allows administrators to centralize data storage at a primary data center or in the cloud with the following advantages

  • A local iSCSI interface at each site without the iSCSI storage array footprint
  • Data reduction (compression and deduplication) before data is sent to the primary site or cloud, increasing usable centralized capacity
  • Ability to re-allocate capacity simply and dynamically between remote sites without moving hardware
  • Ability to maintain a cache or a full local copy that is replicated to the primary site or cloud for a multi-site disaster recovery strategy

Finally, a software enterprise storage gateway can be deployed virtually anywhere in the world in minutes, without additional hardware, allowing IT to rapidly meet ever-changing business needs.

If you are concerned about making the tradeoff between infrastructure footprint and performance for ROBO environments, it may be time to consider the benefits of an enterprise storage gateway solution.

View Original Post At TwinStrata

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