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Prepare for the Day of All-cloud

What is the forecast for the future of data storage? According to a new report from Gartner, the outlook is looking cloudy.The research firm predicts that by 2020, a corporate no-cloud policy will be hard to find. According to Gartner, by 2019, more than 30 percent of the 100 largest vendors’ new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only. That means companies will have done a startling about-face: the defensive no-cloud stance of organizations will be a thing of the past.

As companies become more comfortable with the cloud and begin to adopt hybrid models that rely more heavily on it, IT needs to prepare. Here are a few things you should consider as cloud infrastructures becomes more prevalent:

The Truth About Downtime

While there are many advantages to cloud computing – reduced infrastructure costs and manageability, just to name two – there are also disadvantages. Primarily, the biggest disadvantage is downtime.

None of the cloud providers guarantee 100% uptime. Microsoft Azure Storage, for example, guarantees 99.99% (also known as “four nines”) availability. This means that if that number holds true, your cloud-based operations will be down 52.56 minutes in a calendar year. For the sake of comparison, Amazon Web Services’ Compute EC2 offers 99.95% availability (4.38 hours of downtime annually) and Google Cloud Storage offers 99.9% availability (8.76 hours downtime a year).

Now, 8.76 hours of downtime in a calendar year that has 8,760 hours doesn’t seem so bad. But there’s no predicting when that downtime could come. Downtime doesn’t always happen in the dead of night when business is at its lowest level.

Why High Availability Matters

The most crucial element to success in the cloud is high availability. By incorporating strong High Availability capabilities into cloud functions, businesses can all but eliminate downtime and enable non-disruptive operation at all time.

Without highly available storage, the brand reputation of businesses will suffer. An offline website, downed customer-facing and other cloud-centered applications, combined with data that are inaccessible, will make clients and customers believe they’re dealing with an unreliable company.

Highly available storage reduces the risk of data loss. Customers and employees rely equally on data, and operations all but cease when it cannot be accessed. Also, highly available storage lessens the time in which customers are affected by planned maintenance – businesses can even avoid service disruptions during maintenance entirely with the right High Availability capabilities.

Make High Availability a Cloud Requirement

Even with the abundance of benefits, cloud does bring some risk, downtime being one of them.

While it’s imperative to advance business operations and to keep pace with competitors, businesses simply can’t afford to have extensive periods of downtime. Creating a High Availability plan is paramount to public cloud use. Businesses need to use as much redundancy as possible for applications and programs, be mindful of their overall solution complexity as it runs in the cloud, and implement a strong disaster recovery plan.

Those steps can all be taken by a third-party solution that can guarantee highly available storage with utilizing the public cloud. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP (formerly ONTAP Cloud) is such a solution; it delivers enterprise-class data storage management in the cloud with non-disruptive, high-availability operation.

Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.