How Cloud-Adjacent Storage Solves the Hybrid Multicloud Data Problem

Enterprises face high costs and complexity around managing their data in the cloud, but cloud adjacency may be the solution

Gabriel Chapman
How Cloud-Adjacent Storage Solves the Hybrid Multicloud Data Problem

The last decade has seen tremendous growth in the adoption of public cloud services. Organizations of all sizes and types have seen the benefits afforded by the major public cloud providers—including elasticity, scalability and consumption-based pricing—and have shifted to the cloud to start taking advantage of those benefits. In addition, the rapid growth of containers and microservice-based applications has proven that public cloud has tremendous benefits for customers looking to rapidly deploy applications that drive critical business functions.

The definition of public cloud has shifted somewhat over the years, going from simply “someone else’s computer” to an operational model that allows organizations to address a broad, diverse set of workloads. This model could include the digital edge, private cloud, colocation and various cloud availability zones across the globe.

Following the success and growth of the public cloud, today’s customers find themselves at a crossroads. The decade-long push to move toward a “cloud-first” operational model has driven cloud adoption to all-time highs, but as history has taught us many times before, disruptive changes can indeed be disrupted themselves when market conditions and attitudes change.

Data management in the cloud creates new challenges for enterprises

As public cloud offerings continue to grow and expand, their complexity and cost have forced customers to step back and think about what that growth means to them. Organizations that went all in on a cloud-first strategy now face many challenges they may not have been expecting. One of the biggest of these challenges is how to manage their data—specifically, if that data needs to be stored in the public cloud, or simply adjacent to it to allow for a hybrid cloud approach.

The tremendous growth of data continues to be a major pain point for organizations regardless of which operational model they choose. Multiple surveys have shown that the average enterprise has somewhere between 35 and 80 petabytes of data under its control across its various operational locations.

In the past, organizations worked with storage vendors to fulfill their data management needs, both in their on-premises environments and in colocation facilities. However, in recent years, customers have increasingly looked to the public cloud to perform this role instead. Public cloud providers offer a wide set of storage offerings that allow customers to rapidly deploy applications and services. These cloud storage offerings allow organizations to grow their data footprint considerably without the high CAPEX of deploying physical storage hardware.

The incumbent storage vendors have also worked diligently to make their own on-premises offerings more cloud native or cloud accessible. This means that today’s enterprises have more choices than ever before when it comes to data storage. However, taking advantage of those storage offerings can lead to higher costs and complexity. For instance, many enterprises now find themselves experiencing data sprawl, where they can’t fully explain where all their data is and who has access to it.

The high cost of moving data can lead to cloud vendor lock-in

Many organizations who have moved forward with a cloud-first approach to digital infrastructure have now come to realize that no one public cloud offers everything they need. However, most businesses who start working exclusively with one of the major public clouds will find it difficult to move away. Why is this? To put it simply, it’s the data.

Specifically, it’s the data egress fees, which can add up to high costs any time a customer wants to pull their data out of one cloud in order to use it in another. If enterprises could do so cost-effectively, they would most likely look for a secure, neutral location to store their most important data and connect it to the multiple public cloud providers that best fit the needs of their individual workloads or initiatives. The problem is that many of them don’t know that this option exists.

These organizations will face similar challenges and costs if they attempt to move data back into their private data centers (if those data centers still exist) or into a colocation facility or Bare Metal as a Service offering. To further add to this challenge, customers still want and need to use public cloud services. Private cloud, colocation and on-premises offerings can all bring challenges of their own. The bottom line is there is no one perfect solution that works for everyone, across every workload.

Equinix offers the cloud-adjacent platform that enterprises need

This is where Equinix comes in. Our close proximity to public cloud providers and their services, our global colocation footprint, and our digital infrastructure services and bare metal options offer customers a neutral landing ground for their data. From this neutral platform, they can connect securely and cost-effectively to public clouds, colocation facilities and even their own private cloud and on-premises infrastructure. This is what we call cloud-adjacent data. It allows customers to keep control over their data while also accessing cloud services with high-performance, low-latency connections that can service many different mission-critical, production and developer applications and workloads.

Equinix offers customers a cloud-adjacent data platform that will allow them to take their data to the clouds of their choice without fear of vendor lock-in or the high cost of leaving. Implementing a cloud-adjacent data strategy as a central, neutral location allows customers to choose the right cloud for the right workload, even as their cloud needs change over time. This means that they can realize the full benefits of a hybrid multicloud operational model and ensure the best possible balance of performance, cost-efficiency, security and flexibility for each workload.

To learn more, read our guide to cloud-adjacent data and storage.

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