The Business Case for Cloud File Storage

Learn how cloud file systems can support common use cases while simplifying infrastructure and reducing TCO. This GigaBrief report provides a decision roadmap that can help you make better decisions around storage.

What it Does Icon

What it Does

Cloud-based file storage solutions fall into two categories:

  • Cloud file systems focus on high-performance file access for cloud-based AI, HPC, and big data workloads
  • Distributed cloud file storage aims at enterprise and distributed workloads, e.g., collaboration, NAS replacement
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  • Highly scalable, more accessible than block storage
  • Lower TCO than block storage and on-premise NAS
  • Simplifies migration to the cloud without major changes
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Do it now if you are looking to:

  • Reduce costs, particularly for less accessed and archival file storage and services, potentially as part of a multi-tier architecture
  • Deploy highly scalable file storage to support new workload types such as cloud-based AI or HPC
  • Migrate systems to the cloud, and need to support this with appropriate file-based services
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Risk Level

Shift of file services to the cloud needs to take into account existing file use and access, so nothing is lost in migration

Existing cloud-based capabilities are still maturing, especially classification, compliance, and data sovereignty

Security and data protection (including ransomware) need to be considered

30/60/90 Plan Icon

30/60/90 Plan

30 days: evaluate and classify use cases according to priority, scalability and performance

60 days: evaluate solutions with research and PoCs. Identify operational costs, group interdependent applications and data

90 days: define a migration plan that takes into account network limitations and potential egress fees of the cloud provider

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Time to Value

Cloud-based file storage should show an immediate TCO gain

Costs of migration should be amortized within a period of months

What are the Benefits of Cloud File Storage?

In recent years, file systems have become more cloud-friendly, offering better integration with cloud technologies such as object storage. This brings several advantages:

  • Better scalability. Policy-driven tiering mechanisms allow cold data to be moved to S3-compatible storage, saving precious resources in the high-performance tier.
  • Best combination of speed and $/GB. File storage gateways specifically designed to work with an object storage back-end provide a good balance of performance and cost.
  • Simplified data migrations and synchronization. Many file storage systems can replicate data to remote files or object stores in the cloud or on-premises. This makes it possible to synchronize and serve data sets across different infrastructures to optimize compute-data proximity and reduce latency.
  • Disaster Recovery (DR). Syncing data to a remote object store enables users to leverage a cheaper storage repository in the cloud and populate a file system only if necessary.

These capabilities are particularly important now that vendors are optimizing their file storage for flash memory and access speed, enabling users to build a multi-tier infrastructure to optimize $/GB across on-premise and cloud-based systems.

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