Albert Einstein series around Forrester Report

Hybrid Cloud Storage: Respecting Physics

This is the second in a series related to the recently published Forrester Report, “Hybrid Cloud is the Foundation for Storage Agility and Economics” (April 2017), by Richard Fichera. You can read my first blog in this series, “Hybrid Cloud Storage: A Smarter Storage Model” here. In my second blog I want to address a comment in the report stating that “Cloud Storage is Viable for Many purposes — If You Respect Physics.”

Hybrid Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Storage Defined

Before having a physics discussion, let’s make sure we all agree on a few basic definitions. The Forrester report states that, “Hybrid clouds are the future state of compute and storage for enterprises in the age of the customer.” Let’s start with what is hybrid cloud? Gartner defines hybrid cloud computing as, “policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services.” You will notice with this definition it’s not just about location. My view of hybrid cloud focuses on the ability to design and deliver agile IT services, using an appropriate mix of on-premise and cloud-based resources. This mix, and how it is implemented, will likely be different for every organization and should support your specific business and application requirements

So what is hybrid cloud storage? Forrester’s report states, “Hybrid cloud storage can now blend on-premises storage infrastructure with public and hosted cloud services,” so let’s start there. Hybrid cloud storage:

  • Is not just another storage silo
  • Should operate as if it were homogeneous storage
  • Can help bridge the gap for non-cloud applications
  • Offers both on-premise and off-site (in the cloud) storage space
  • Is not one-size-fits-all

The Link to Physics and Panzura

So how does physics factor in? As mentioned earlier, the Forrester report says, “Cloud Storage Is Viable For Many Purposes — If You Respect Physics.” They go on to say, ”Physics and wide-area network (WAN) latency have limited the use cases for cloud storage.” Cloud infrastructure has a natural latency as data traverses the distance between you and your data. This is often referred to as the “speed of light challenge.”

Enter Panzura. Panzura Freedom hybrid cloud storage solutions help you solve the physics of cloud storage, allowing it to appear like it’s part of your datacenter. Our hot-edge, cold-core model centralizes data in the cloud, but delivers local performance by keeping active data cached close to the users and applications. It’s faster, simpler, and less expensive than your traditional on-premise file storage.

A simple and efficient approach:

  • Your central data repository is the cloud, with your choice of cloud storage vendors such as AWS S3, Azure Blob, Google, or on-premise object storage solutions such as IBM Cloud Object Storage or DellEMC Virtustream.
  • Intelligent Caching keeps the most used data close to your users and applications. Global metadata is cached locally too, ensuring quick look up for your data, no matter where it’s stored.
  • Policy-based caching can be used to ensure certain data is always cached locally, allowing you to control the environment and enhance user experience.
  • Global Deduplication and Data Compression help as well. All data is deduplicated and compressed, which means less data is transmitted to the cloud. Smaller files and less data over the network improves performance and, as a bonus saves you money on cloud storage costs.

Panzura technologies solve the physics of hosting your data in the cloud by eliminating the issue of latency. And as Forrester states, “…cloud storage is now a viable candidate for many more workloads than it’s ever been.” Not every workload is a good fit for cloud storage, but use cases such as unstructured data, user (file) data, archive, disaster recovery, and collaboration are great candidates.

Learn more about Panzura Freedom hybrid cloud storage solutions at

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