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Hybrid Cloud Management

Hybrid Cloud Storage: The Best of Both Worlds

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Hybrid cloud storage is a critical part of hybrid cloud management. It brings together the best of both worlds—the scalability and flexibility of public cloud storage with the increased security, customizability and control of storage deployed on premises. While hybrid storage provides significant benefits, it rises and falls of the availability of strong, reliable network connections between private and public cloud, and alignment of data access between on-premise and public cloud environments.

In this post, we’ll review hybrid cloud storage uses and architecture, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help synchronize storage between public and private clouds.

In this article you will learn:

What Is Hybrid Cloud Storage?

Hybrid cloud storage refers to a combination of on-premise and cloud resources. When deployed successfully, hybrid storage is transparent to users, behaving just like a storage system with a single component.

You can implement hybrid storage using proprietary storage software or a cloud storage appliance. A cloud storage appliance is a stand-alone device or virtual machine that you can use to transfer and sync data on-premises and in the cloud. Examples of storage appliances include AWS Storage Gateway and Azure StorSimple.

Hybrid Storage Use Cases

You can use hybrid storage for a variety of purposes. The most common use cases include:

  • Sharing application data—frequently you need to be able to access application data both on-premise and in the cloud. Many applications share data and you may have applications in both environments. This requires applications to be able to access data no matter where the application is hosted. Hybrid storage enables you to share this data smoothly.
  • Cloud backup and archive—you can use hybrid storage to optimize backups and archives across multiple sites. For example, simple solutions can help you quickly and securely move backups to cloud locations. Advanced solutions can help you combine backups from multiple sites into a centralized location for faster RTO and RPO.
  • Multi-site data—hybrid storage can help you share data across sites while keeping data consistent. You can use hybrid storage solutions to synchronize data, ensuring that all storage resources contain reliable copies.
  • Extending on-premise data to the cloud—hybrid storage systems are used to supplement local data storage with cloud storage resources. These systems use policy engines to maintain active data on-site and move infrequently used data to cloud storage.
  • Big data applications—hybrid storage can help you process and analyze big data more efficiently. Using hybrid storage, you can easily transfer datasets from the cloud for in-house computations or vice versa. You can also more easily isolate sensitive or regulated data.

Hybrid Cloud Storage Considerations

When implementing hybrid storage, there are several hybrid cloud architectures you can choose from. Architectures can combine on-premise and public clouds, public and private clouds, or a mixture of on-premise, public and private cloud services. Whichever setup you use, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Data integration—data should be synced across your infrastructures. Managing this synchronization can be challenging without an automated process.
  • Network connectivity—your services are connected over a private network or public Internet connections. If you do not have reliable connections, you cannot consistently access data and services.
  • Unified management—smooth operations require unified, centralized visibility and management. However, orchestrating separate infrastructures can be challenging due to differing service level agreements (SLAs), APIs, and capabilities.

How Hybrid Cloud Storage Works

Most hybrid cloud storage combines on-premise storage and public cloud storage.

Public Cloud Storage

Examples of public cloud storage include Amazon S3 or Azure Files. These services are built on data servers connected to the public Internet. To use these services, you upload your data to the cloud server which then forwards it to multiple resources for redundancy. To access or manage this data, you typically connect to the server via a web-based interface.

Cloud storage services use large numbers of data servers to ensure scalability and availability. With multiple servers, your data remains accessible even when servers fail or require maintenance.

On-Premise Storage

Examples of on-premise storage include disk arrays, traditional hard drive, object storage devices, or virtualized storage, such as SAN or NAS. These storage systems are hosted and maintained in your data centers.

On-premise storage systems provide you greater control over your data and are often less affected by network issues. However, these systems do not inherently provide data redundancy or scalability.

The Networking Aspect

Network connections between storage services are vital to hybrid storage systems. If storage services aren’t connected, you are simply operating multiple distinct storage structures. This prevents data synchronization and often increases management effort.

To connect your services, you can use the following methods:

  • Virtual private network (VPN)—enables secure, private connections via the Internet. VPN traffic is encrypted to ensure privacy and security.
  • Wide area network (WAN)—similar to a local area network (LAN), it enables you to create a private, independent network. These networks are not encrypted by default so you need to make sure to configure encryption for greater security.
  • APIs—API integrations enable you to connect platforms, applications, and databases to your storage services. Using APIs, you can communicate between clouds and storage services.

Using one or more of these methods, you can connect your storage services, applications, and users. Through connection management, you can ensure that data is accessed from the appropriate location, regardless of whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud.

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Storage

Hybrid storage can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Extending the life of on-premise storage investments
  • Reclaiming on-site storage capacity
  • Optimizing balance between storage costs and data value
  • Improving disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) strategies
  • Simplifying operations and saving time for IT personnel

Synchronizing Data Between Public and Private Clouds with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides Cloud Manager, a UI and APIs for management, automation and orchestration, supporting hybrid & multi-cloud architectures, while NetApp data replication and synchronization technology SnapMirror will seamlessly move and synch your data.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager