3 Questions to Ask to Decide What to Tier to Cloud

by Tammy Batey – July 18, 2017

Amazon Web Services launched in 2006, and the outlook has been “cloudy” and profitable ever since, with numerous household names realizing the financial and agility benefits of moving data to cloud.

The cloud services platform continues to take in significant profits, with $3.66 billion in revenue and $890 million in operating income in the first quarter of 2017, according to an April 2017 GeekWire article.

The AWS Global Summit events, which are designed to educate new customers about the AWS platform and provide technical content to existing customers, draw thousands every year.

Igneous Systems will be among the 82 companies exhibiting July 26-27 at AWS Summit Chicago. Look up Igneous on the AWS Summits app. With the app, you can find directions to Booth #814, read a company description and even jot down notes.

Once at our booth, you can get a demo of how Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud tiers backup data to AWS Cloud (S3 or IA) so that our customers can fully embrace hybrid cloud.

You may be asking yourself, what data do you tier to AWS Cloud and what do you leave in the datacenter? Igneous Chief Technology Officer Jeff Hughes says to ask yourself these three questions to help you decide what data to move to AWS Cloud. But first, a brief history of AWS Cloud.

History of AWS Cloud

When Amazon launched its web service in 2006, investors and analysts questioned why a company struggling with its retail business would dive into a totally different business – selling storage and computing services. In fact, an October 2006 cover story in BusinessWeek was titled “Jeff Bezos’ Risky Bet.”

One analyst called the move “a distraction” and a tech book publisher CEO said Amazon was a “dark horse,” according to “Ten Years Later, Amazon Web Services Defies Skeptics” in Forbes magazine.

Now, AWS leads the cloud computing market, with $12 billion in sales in 2016 and 40 percent market share, besting competitors Microsoft, Google and IBM, according to “Cloud Report Card: Amazon Web Services is a $12B juggernaut, but Microsoft and Google are gaining” in GeekWire magazine.

In the Forbes article, writer Robert Hof references how organizations from startups to General Electric to Netflix have run on AWS.

“By providing countless startups with the ability to create new businesses seemingly overnight, with far less capital spent on hardware and software, Amazon likely did more than any other company to pave the way for the huge, cloud-driven disruptions we’re seeing in nearly every industry, from retailing to entertainment to transportation,” Robert writes. It’s hard to imagine the massive successes of Netflix, Apple’s App Store, Uber, Airbnb or dozens of other unicorns without their ability to get big very fast using cloud services AWS pioneered.”

Deciding what to tier to cloud

Igneous secondary storage solutions for massive file systems integrate with AWS object storage offerings, including Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) and Amazon, S3 Standard - Infrequent Access (IA) for less frequently accessed data.

During our demo at AWS Summit Chicago, we’ll show how Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud updates indexes to reflect the location of data and quickly restores data back to NAS devices when needed.

With Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud, enterprises enjoy high-performance data storage across their datacenters and AWS, and across-tier search to easily find data no matter where it is. Other benefits of Igneous’ infrastructure as-a-service include seamless backups, easy archiving and quick restores.

With remote management and a user-friendly search interface, Igneous makes it easy to go hybrid. But how do enterprises decide which data to effortlessly tier to AWS Cloud and which data to leave in their datacenters? Igneous CTO Jeff Hughes suggests asking three questions.  

Question #1 - Why do you want to move the data?

The typical reason that enterprises give for moving data to cloud is that they want storage that’s more affordable than their primary tier, Jeff says.

It’s understandable motivation, but cloud pricing can be hard to predict based on usage, he says. That makes it very important for organizations to carefully consider their reasons for moving data beyond price. This could be the desire for an offsite copy of data. It could be a step in a disaster recovery plan. Understanding your reasons for moving data can help you better tailor your overall cloud tiering approach to your organization’s needs.

Question #2 - How likely are you to need the data again?

With many secondary storage options, recovering data can be costly and time-consuming. So if you’re highly likely to need to return the data to on-premises storage, tiering to cloud may not be the right call.

Igneous secondary storage solutions help enterprises avoid this issue - and do so affordably.

“We keep a full index of data locally in order to minimize the need to pull data from the cloud for the most basic of operations,” Jeff says. “There is also an integrated pricing engine that helps navigate cloud pricing and offer the best cloud products for your type of usage.”

Question #3 - Will your workloads continue to run on-premises?

If computing remains on-premises, primary data storage does, too, and data will be backed up from - and restored to - that location.

The fact that computing remains on-premises may indicate there’s an internal compliance reason to keep the data there. Or it could mean the network bandwidth necessary to move the data to the point of process is lacking. Whatever the reason, it may extend to secondary storage and can help you make a more informed decision about tiering to cloud.