How to help your files speak S3

Among the many clouds in the storage sky, Amazon Web Services is the dominant leader by far. The annual AWS re:Invent trade show is taking place in Las Vegas this week, and given how many enterprises have some data in the AWS cloud, the event is expected to sell out.

It’s no secret that the cloud is one of today’s top storage industry disruptors, significantly reshaping enterprise IT architectures and investments. Cloud object storage has a well-earned reputation for cutting costs since enterprises can avoid both upfront capital and costly operational expenditures by storing data off-premises. However, the challenges of getting data to the cloud means many enterprises are only getting started on adoption. There is much more growth ahead, as the cloud’s elastic scaling can also deliver agility, but so far, most enterprises are relegating cloud storage for archival.

Integration ain’t easy

My company, Primary Data, recently surveyed IT pros about the cloud. Adoption ranked among the top IT challenges, coming in closely behind delivering performance, managing migrations, and budget concerns. This is not surprising, as the majority of the IT professionals surveyed estimate that about 60 percent of their data is cold, not recently used, or “dark,” meaning that its use is unknown. Admins also noted that their biggest challenge to cloud adoption is the difficulty of integrating object storage into existing infrastructure, and the challenge of having to adapt applications to connect with the cloud.

There is significant complexity at the root of these adoption challenges. Most enterprise data is stored on NAS file systems and accessed over NFS or SMB protocols. In fact, many enterprises already have a mix of these protocols in place throughout their infrastructure. That means that today, most enterprise applications don’t speak the Amazon S3 protocol. This issue reaches down into the very heart of IT architecture, significantly complicating cloud adoption.

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