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File storage is a critical component of every hybrid cloud strategy, especially for use cases that support collaboration. Among file storage solutions, notably those that support collaboration, there is a steep increase in the popularity of distributed cloud file storage. There are several reasons for this trend: these solutions are readily available and simple to deploy; they rely on the cloud as their backbone, making them geographically available nearly everywhere; and they are simple for end users to operate.
From a cost perspective, these solutions also can help organizations shift from a CapEx cost model toward an OpEx model. They no longer need to purchase infrastructure upfront at multiple physical locations and instead can pay for the capacity they really use without making massive investments.
One of the other major advantages of distributed cloud file storage is its ubiquity, which makes it perfect for remote work. Remote work was already on the rise before the global COVID-19 pandemic, but sudden, drastic measures taken to protect public health had a significant impact on everyday logistics for organizations and workers. Remote collaboration was suddenly no longer a matter of choice or policy, and organizations quickly needed to find ways to do it better.
The classic hub and spoke architecture, in which remote workers connect to their corporate network and access files on a NAS, are no longer scalable. Data must now be available everywhere, instantly, and be adequately protected against threats such as ransomware. Organizations also need clear insights into their data: what data is generated, by whom, and how fast the footprint is increasing. They need clear visibility into the cost impact of data growth, ways to manage and clean up stale data, and the means to observe and take action on abnormal activities.
While distributed cloud file storage tenets are well established and most solutions propose a solid distributed architecture, there are new challenges on the horizon. Regulatory constraints also impact data governance. Consumer protection laws such as GDPR, CCPA, and others give customers greater control over their data and impact how organizations manage that data.
Nation-states are also starting to understand that data is a strategic asset and to impose strict data sovereignty regulations that require data assets to be physically stored within the given country’s territories. Data classification is another challenge that has been around since even before distributed cloud file storage was available. Data needs to be tracked, classified, and treated appropriately; usually to comply with country or industry regulatory bodies.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.