Cloud Services 101-5: Storage as a Service

Originally published for Averro.com blog.

One of the major technical dilemmas that many small or medium sized companies face, is to have enough storage space for all the data its employees work with every day. Storage space can be pretty expensive; servers, hosting fees and support costs, can eat up a significant portion of the revenue that a small company earns every month.  Reliable, secure and available disk storage can be one of the highest cost within the IT hardware budget.   The expense involved in the backup and maintenance procedures, as well as the hiring of properly qualified personnel are all a  significant challenge for any small or medium sized company. This is where Storage as a Service (STaaS) comes into the picture. Please note that this is completely different from Software as a Service, although both are abbreviated in the same way.

Storage-as-a-Service includes such offerings as helping customers move all, or part of their primary or backup storage to an virtually unlimited and on-demand Internet-based storage vault.

Here are just some of the advantages that  STaaS can provide to a small business:

  1. Less physical infrastructure required: Since the data of the company is stored online, there is no need for investing in expensive hardware. There are no file servers to be purchased, or “closet”  to be maintained. The data is stored within online servers in a secure manner, from where it can be retrieved at will. All that is needed is an active Internet connection. That’s it. The entire operation becomes more streamlined, and hassle-free.
  2. Virtually unlimited storage space: The storage space in a cloud based service is theoretically unending. As the demand for storage space increases, STaaS includes such offerings as helping customers move all or part of their primary or backup storage to an Internet-based storage vault. This is is way cheaper than maintaining a full-fledged files server or SAN  in-house.
  3. Savings on investment, along with greater efficiency: Organizations opting for Storage as a Service from any cloud based service provider have to pay a lot less and thus, save much on investments in the long run. Most STaaS providers charge a pretty nominal amount considering the advantages they provide. Upgrading to a higher storage capacity can be carried out seamlessly and at any time. In addition,  most cloud based storage service providers have technically proficient personnel on roster, ensuring that any technical problem that occurs is quickly fixed, and the client’s data is not compromised. In fact, most cloud storage providers maintain close to 99.99% up-time, resulting in greater efficiency than a small company could hope for.

Storage-as-a-Service, is generally seen as a good alternative for a small or mid-sized business that lacks the capital budget, and/or technical personnel to implement and maintain their own storage infrastructure. SaaS is also being promoted as a way for all businesses to mitigate risks in disaster recovery, provide long-term retention for records and enhance both business continuity and availability.

There are several providers of Storage as a Service nowadays. They include Egnyte.com, Box.net, Amazon Simple Storage Service (referred to as Amazon S3), Microsoft SkyDrive, Carbonite, and the widely popular Google Docs. All are excellent cloud based providers which offers standard windows drive mappings to their users very effectively.

In our view, Egnyte.com offers the most compelling and complete solution available in the market today.   Check them out!

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