The evolution of storage from on-premise to cloud


Anyone that has kept up with this column knows I tend to focus on one storage architecture more than any other – the hybrid-cloud storage architecture. That’s because I truly believe in its ability to meet the challenges of today’s IT storage – ever-expanding data, multiple sites, a need for flexibility and scale, while simultaneously meeting specific performance demands. For this month’s column, I thought we would take a look at how we got to this point and see if this evolution informs where we might go in the near future.

Early days – pre-NAS

The very earliest business storage systems were designed for a world long-gone. One in which a business would be expected to manage maybe thousands of files. Even the largest enterprise would have a storage system to support hundreds of concurrent users, no more. These legacy systems had regularly scheduled down time for maintenance, but it was not unusual to not have access for unscheduled reasons.

In this case, we’re talking about simple hard drives and Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) such as SCSI drives, which is really just an extension of a server. As we all know, this is a relatively fragile system with hard drives being prone to failure. However, even for most businesses, this is essentially pre-Internet and the amount of data that had to be protected and managed was minimal.

Rise of NAS

It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when dedicated file servers and earlier proprietary NAS devices from company like NetApp and EMC were created to meet the growing need for scalable, reliable access to data.  In fact, it was a group of engineers that formed Auspex Systems that was one of the first to create a file server for the UNIX market. These solutions were a direct response to need to manage data and helped create the pathway for data becoming the “new oil.”

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