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Enterprises increasingly seek flexible cloud storage hardware

Enterprises are seeking to create flexible combinations of cloud storage hardware and software.

When procuring cloud storage hardware, enterprises are increasingly opting for industry standard media and appliances that can be paired with high-value software, much of it open source. Accordingly, they may be moving away from holistic, proprietary hardware solutions and instead assembling custom infrastructure with components from many different vendors.

In an article for EE Times, Designline Editor Janine Love chronicled some of the recent advances in data center storage technologies. High-performance appliances and solid-state drives are capable of many more input/output operations per second than their predecessors. Moreover, they are designed with cloud computing services in mind. The greater flexibility and scalability that the cloud enables has necessitated technological solutions that are equally dynamic.

Speaking to Love, Coraid's Suda Srinivasan observed that legacy IT infrastructure was not suited to the on-demand, large-scale character of the cloud. Enterprises are seeking cost-effective storage solutions that also fit the constantly changing nature of cloud services.

"[There is] a growing trend for cloud builders to use storage solutions that are based on commodity hardware and intelligent software instead of proprietary hardware solutions," wrote Love. "Srinivasan reports that open-source storage software technologies, such as Swift and Ceph, that use direct-attached storage, are also growing in popularity because of their capital expense advantages."

Still, many enterprises may have work to do in educating employees about how to use cloud storage. CloudTweaks contributor Claire Broadley explained that some workers regard cloud solutions as too byzantine to actually use, an attitude perhaps borne out of widespread usage of consumer services such as Dropbox.

However, many cloud storage solutions resemble shared network drives and utilize common hardware, and with the right administrator setup, they can perform efficiently and securely. At the same time, IT departments must be careful when it comes to data access, given the proliferation of different cloud-connected endpoints.