There are several things storage providers must consider when deploying the cloud.

Hayden StoneHayden Stone

More end-users are relying on cloud services for their storage, and this brings new challenges for providers, says Barry Hat eld, business development manager of cloud services at .

“There’s an expectation that if a user stores data in the cloud, it will ‘just work’. So, from an end-user  perspective, there’s less and less focus on the actual technology around storage,” he explains. “There’s an expectation of high availability and access to data.” He says service providers must consider this when  deploying cloud services.

In the past, says Hayden Stone, cloud infrastructure operations manager for , storage  infrastructure was purpose-built. “You had an understanding of the applications you were deploying, you  had very clear performance metrics, guidelines from vendors etc. In the past it was speci c around each deployment.” These days, he says, “you have far less visibility as to what applications will be running within the cloud. Which means we have to start designing with more of an open-ended view.” He says,  considering the possibilities of cloud, providers have to be more agile. “You have to be able to offer  different storage solutions in the back-end to help meet the price expectation of data alwayson.”

The cloud changes storage from a provider perspective, but Hatfield also notes the advantages users will experience. “Quite simply, you pay for what you use. So, the price is far more competitive.” He also  mentions the flexibility of a cloud model: “You can change how much storage you provision to meet your  immediate need.”

The cloud also allows information stored in it to be available anywhere, and it enables this information for  use on multiple platforms, so users can use whichever device they choose. “Obviously, the challenge it  creates for us as providers is that we have to cater for that  exibility in everything that we offer. So,  whatever we build needs to be scalable to handle the  uctuations in user demand as and when they arrive.”

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Barry Hatfield" />With cloud needing connectivity, however, Hatfield says there is still a problem in that sphere. “There is still an infrastructural challenge around availability of reliable and affordable data connectivity within SA
specifically, particularly in the consumer space. I think it’s being addressed quickly and it’s less of a  problem by the day. But it’s still something to bear in mind.” Despite our network challenges, SA is not significantly lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of cloud adoption, says Stone.

Hatfield says: “I think in terms of the hardware that’s available to us, and the technology that we can  leverage to provide services to our clients, we’re right up there. We’re able to provide the same as anybody  else out there in the world.”

However, Stone argues that the local market has not quite matured in terms of taking services to the public cloud. “The early adopter strategy doesn’t apply to most companies in SA, there’s a wait-and see attitude.”

Hatfield agrees that many companies feel they should not rush into deploying cloud. “We have a large  segment of established large corporates that have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. There would be a lag in  that space, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an opportunity for people to play in the cloud space in the  short to medium term, as there are still a fair number of early adopters.” Stone says cloud usage will  increase with time. “As the market matures and it becomes a better experience, and a more common  experience, we’ll see it picking up in the future.

“Over time, it will make its way to being the de facto standard.”