Hybrid & MultiCloud Disaster Recovery Simplified

Hybrid & MultiCloud Disaster Recovery Simplified

Three major cloud platforms suffered outages in just two months.

First, it was Microsoft Azure, then AWS, and finally Google Cloud Services, each suffering global outages which seriously impacted businesses. The outages ranged from nearly one hour to several hours. To customers, that downtime feels like a lifetime.

So how are enterprise organizations utilizing cloud prepared for a major outage like these?

The answer is that most of them don’t have a plan. However, forward-thinking organizations are now implementing DR strategies with data at the core, centrally stored in the middle of a hybrid or multicloud environment. An organization using this strategy could easily fail over to another cloud platform, or even back to HQ on-prem if one or more of their platforms become suddenly unavailable.

Centralizing data in a secure, available private cloud environment is similar to what off-site backup would be in a traditional on-prem DR strategy. Data is replicated in an off-site data center separate from the on-prem infrastructure, accessed using specific backup or DR software. When disaster strikes, that data can be accessed within the parameters of an organization’s recovery time objective (RTO).

The difference with a DR strategy for hybrid and multicloud environments is the addition of centralized storage located in the middle of the environment. In the event that one or more of the cloud or on-prem environments go down, data can be accessed by the other cloud platforms, remote users, and secondary sites seamlessly.

The Hybrid & MultiCloud Disaster Recovery Problem

The first problem organizations face when implementing DR in a hybrid or multicloud environment starts with each individual public cloud. Typically, the cloud provider is responsible for infrastructure uptime, but the onus falls on the customer to protect data and applications. This is further complicated by each provider having its own strategy and method for accessing, creating, moving, and storing data. A moving target for DR.

The next hurdle is a byproduct of data gravity. Enterprise hybrid cloud environments are typically designed to leverage on-prem and a single cloud platform such as AWS, Google, or Azure. With the massive amount of data locked into a platform, should that platform suffer an outage, the result for the customer is devastating. Not only is that data trapped, but so is the enterprise. 

To compound the issue, most workforces now have, and continue to support a large percentage of work from home employees. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, enterprise organizations have adjusted their cloud environments to securely accommodate a diverse, remote workforce. When the cloud platform goes down, business stops. It’s that simple.

Enterprise organizations adapting to a multicloud strategy are better positioned to recover if one of their public cloud platforms suffers an outage. A multicloud environment leverages more than one public cloud platform, giving organizations a bit more flexibility in the event one cloud suddenly goes offline. The problem, however, is that the flexibility of multicloud doesn’t exactly translate into achieving a sufficient RTO.

When organizations expand into a multicloud environment, it’s primarily to take advantage of the specifics of each cloud. These advantages can range from financial incentives to technology best suited to particular use cases, or even simply based on geography. The disadvantage comes from each public cloud platform wanting to capture all of their customers’ data rather than share the pie by making it easy – and affordable – to engage in cross-cloud services. That’s the real fly in the ointment when it comes to leveraging multicloud as a DR strategy.

An Easier Path to Disaster Recovery in a Hybrid & MultiCloud World

A successful DR strategy puts data in the middle of hybrid and multicloud environments. There is certainly a lot of buzz around backing up data in multiple clouds. But that just creates more copies of data spread across disparate storage pools. This type of solution is overly complex, costly, and open to a host of security and performance challenges.

Centralizing your data is a simple, effective strategy to overcome the challenges of failover in a hybrid and multicloud environment. By positioning your data in centralized cloud storage in between your on-prem and cloud infrastructures, you’ll have complete control over all of your data. When one platform goes down, your data is readily available to move to a different platform for access. This moves you closer to your recovery point objective (RPO), but legacy storage still creates barriers to potential immediate failover.

Untangling Your Hybrid Cloud Environment

Untangling Your Hybrid Cloud Environment

Does your hybrid cloud data flow diagram remind you of a bowl of spaghetti? Simplify your environment and eliminate complex data management by centralizing your on-premises and cloud data under a unified hybrid storage fabric.

As organizations add cloud applications and services, they are finding it increasingly complex to manage their data and extremely difficult to integrate these new cloud services with their legacy on-premises environments. One of the main reasons for this is because every cloud service provider (CSP) speaks their own language which is also different from the languages of your on-premises SANs and NASs. It doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a simple and secure solution to untangling your hybrid cloud environment.

Before we get into the solution, it’s important to understand the reasons behind this unnecessary complexity and why there is such a vacuum in hybrid cloud solutions. The main factors have to do with incompatible technology and decentralized data.

Traditional on-prem enterprise storage vendors, like DellEMC and Netapp, are mostly hardware-based. There’s no way to forklift your storage hardware into your AWS or Azure cloud without some seriously expensive custom colocation services. Therefore, these legacy providers have been trying to create abstracted software versions of their solutions to run on top of certain CSP storage clouds. These ad-hoc API and plug-in heavy integrations are both clunky and extremely constrained by the limitations of the storage cloud on which they are built.

At the same time, CSP’s are not focusing on developing on-prem storage solutions. It’s not their business model and they make much more profit convincing customers to store all of their data on their platform and locking them in as much as possible.

The inherent decentralization of the typical cloud storage architecture also creates exponentially more complexity. Each CSP has a unique and generally isolated storage cloud for each type of data; file, block, object, archive, etc. In addition, each storage cloud has its own independent management console. For organizations utilizing services and running applications in multiple clouds while also maintaining their on-premises environment, it’s not uncommon for an administrator to juggle operating over a dozen different management interfaces. Add additional interfaces if they’re utilizing 3rd party backup and replication software.

Even on-premises enterprise storage solutions from the traditional vendors aren’t as centralized as they can be. Advancements in software-defined storage now allow for the combination of high-performing SAN, NAS, and object pools into a single storage platform. Cost-effective backup and archive storage can also be tiered on the same platform and managed from the same console.

Decentralization of data also introduces significant security and data integrity challenges. Besides the obvious security concerns of storing sensitive data in a public cloud, sharing resources with an indefinite number of unknown entities, each CSP has its own unique security and compliance standards. The more locations and copies of a particular set of data, the more difficult it is to secure it and ensure its integrity.

The issues with decentralized data across multiple clouds and your on-prem environment are made even more challenging by the lack of interoperability between distinct cloud platforms. After all, those cloud platforms exist as a business to hold as much of your data as possible without sharing it with other competing clouds. It’s textbook vendor lock.

So, how do we untangle this hybrid cloud complexity? 

Cloud-ready enterprise storage on-premises + Private MultiCloud Storage by Madison Cloud. An entire platform built on StorONE software-defined storage, Madison Cloud removes the challenges of incompatible technologies and decentralized, siloed cloud storage while better securing your data and ensuring data integrity.

For both on-prem and cloud installations, all types of data and performance tiers are hosted simultaneously from a single storage instance. Your entire data storage footprint can be managed from a single console; even from your phone or tablet.

Bidirectional secure network connections are established between your on-premises data and private multicloud storage enclave, and between your cloud storage and the compute clouds on which your cloud applications and services are running. Your data flows seamlessly throughout your hybrid cloud environment while the applications and services running in any number of connected clouds are simultaneously accessing your newly centralized Private MultiCloud Storage.

Centralized storage is also critical to a solid, secure global backup and disaster recovery strategy. StorONE’s software-defined storage includes built-in replication, as well as the capability to work with your existing third-party backup software such as Veeam or Commvault. These tools make it easy for you to create a backup strategy that can include your remote offices, headquarters, datacenters, and entire cloud footprint. Create a policy that is best for your organization without the limitations of siloed and incompatible data pools.

Simply put, Madison Cloud untangles your hybrid cloud environment and gives you the flexibility, security, and control previously lacking in the market. This enables your enterprise to confidently plan forward with a future-proof cloud strategy built around your data.

Whether your organization is newly exploring how to integrate cloud services or is interested in simplifying an existing hybrid or multicloud strategy, let’s talk about how Madison Cloud and StorONE can design a solution to meet your objectives for today and tomorrow. Contact sales@creative813.website or visit madisoncloud.com to schedule a discussion.

Is Your Enterprise Cloud-Ready?

Is Your Enterprise Cloud-Ready?

Cloud technology has been one of the fastest-growing and most transformative industries over the last 10 years. Most organizations are moving quickly towards cloud adoption to benefit from efficiency and cost reduction, scalability, and flexibility. This is especially the case recently due to the dramatic shift to a work-from-home culture. What many enterprise organizations have discovered, however, is that actually realizing those benefits is more challenging than expected. Transitioning applications and data to the cloud requires significant planning in order to have a successful cloud implementation. 

The steps listed below can help your organization become a cloud-ready enterprise.

Transformation to a cloud-ready enterprise requires adjusting the existing, expensive legacy on-prem infrastructure to integrate with one or multiple public cloud platforms. Typical on-prem infrastructure is inherently costly and inefficient. For example, a traditional enterprise storage environment may have one or more SANs to support their databases and block data, NASs to support certain applications and file sharing, some direct-attached storage for performance-hungry applications, and maybe other appliances for object storage. For centralized storage, this isolation of data types and segregated data pools can make on-premises data management complex in itself. Moreover, it can make the integration of cloud nearly impossible.

By putting data at the core of your cloud strategy and prepping your on-prem data to be cloud-ready, you can create the foundation for easy adoption of the cloud services you would like to implement today while creating a flexible, future-proof environment for the cloud services of tomorrow.

Where to Begin

  1. Map out your data pools to their respective applications; logically, not physically. This will allow you to get a high-level visualization of data/application dependencies and provide a starting point of how to architect your cloud infrastructure.
  2. Define each data pool’s characteristics. Include characteristics like data type, current size, growth rate, operational importance (RTO/RPO targets, COOP priority, etc), and security requirements.
  3. Simplify your on-premises storage. A complex on-prem storage environment, similar to the scenario mentioned earlier, immediately over-complicates your cloud strategy. Major cloud service providers can have 6 or more isolated storage clouds just within their own cloud environment. If you’re not centralizing your on-prem data as much as possible, you will have a many-to-many relationship of complex networking and data flows to manage. Having centralized storage capable of handling block, file, and object data across your varying performance tiers, simultaneously will dramatically simplify your cloud journey.
  4. Determine the current and future homes of each application. Is it on-premises only, in the cloud, or both (hybrid)? Will multiple clouds need to access the same data pool? If so, how will you ensure data integrity? By listing the current status and future plans of each application, you’ll begin creating a cloud adoption schedule that’s aligned with your priorities and easy to digest.
  5. Keep data security a top priority. Data is the most valuable asset to most organizations. If data gets compromised, manipulated, hacked, or lost, it can have a devastating and potentially catastrophic effect. Cloud technology offers endless benefits and future potential but the reality is that most cloud service providers are public clouds. This means that your data is stored on an indefinite number of drives and servers shared with an indefinite number of unknown persons, companies, or entities at an indefinite number of locations. This is actually where the term ‘cloud’ came from. Your data could be anywhere and everywhere. Private cloud storage addresses this security problem. Your data is stored centrally on dedicated drives and servers in a datacenter you can actually find on a map. With clearly understood and agreed-upon security controls, you can sleep easy at night knowing where your data is and that it’s secure.
  6. Consider your cloud storage options. A common regret from organizations who have fully adopted cloud and have their data residing in the same public clouds in which their applications are running is that their data is now decentralized, isolated, complex to manage, and unpredictably costly. As mentioned above, private cloud storage is not just private and secure, it’s also centralized just like your enterprise on-premises storage. The applications still run in the public clouds (like on-prem compute servers) but the data is centralized. A direct network connection is made between the private storage cloud and your instances in the public compute clouds. This allows for endless flexibility in terms of future plans to add or try out new and different clouds and services.
  7. Scheme your data flow. By centralizing your on-prem and cloud data, even if there are multiple geographic locations of each, data can replicate seamlessly between them according to the rules, COOP, or DR plan that suits your objectives.
  8. Start small. Cloud doesn’t have to be a large complex undertaking if you create a plan with data at the core and take the steps to make your on-premises storage environment cloud-ready. Start small. Maybe you’d like to create your private storage cloud and use it as a DR target from your on-prem environment. Allow some developers to test some applications in the public clouds and simply point those compute instances to your new private cloud storage. As the old adage goes, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Madison Cloud: On-Premises and Private Cloud Storage made easy

Madison Cloud is centralized on-prem and cloud storage that can make any organization cloud-ready and simplifies the road to cloud adoption. The innovative hybrid cloud solution allows for true storage centralization by supporting all data types, protocols, and performance tiers running simultaneously from a single appliance. This flexibility combines your SAN, NAS, and object stores into one and extends across your entire on-prem and cloud environments. You’re now able to manage your organization’s current and future data storage footprint from a single management console.

Because Madison Cloud provides Private Cloud Storage for your cloud data, all the security and flexibility benefits sought after in a future-proof cloud strategy are built-in. Applications running in an unlimited number of clouds can simultaneously access their data in a centralized storage cloud while that same storage cloud can be a target for all your on-prem disaster recovery needs. The flexibility is endless and it all begins by creating a cloud strategy with data at its core and making your enterprise cloud-ready.

To learn more about Madison Cloud and how to become cloud-ready, schedule an appointment with a member of our sales team today.

Break Free from Data Gravity in a MultiCloud Environment

Break Free from Data Gravity in a MultiCloud Environment

Isn’t it ironic?

Just 2 years ago, multi-cloud was well on its way to becoming a huge trend in enterprise organizations. One of the key benefits of a robust multi-cloud strategy was to leverage the unique innovations and functionalities that different clouds can offer an organization. However, as the main cloud service providers matured, the concepts of data gravity and vendor lock-in have inhibited the adoption of a multi-cloud environment.

What is Data Gravity?

Data gravity means that the more massive the total amount of data stored in one place, the more applications, services and other data are pulled towards it. As data grows, it becomes increasingly difficult and costly to move and the network of connections between data, applications and other services becomes more complex. Similar to how more massive stars and planets have more gravity to pull in other objects.

Major cloud providers make it easy to intake and store your data in their cloud to access their wide range of services, but they don’t allow applications and services from other clouds to access data stored in their cloud. They also charge costly egress fees when an organization pulls data out of their cloud. This leads to vendor lock-in.

It is not in their interest to integrate with other CSPs. Their goal is to create their own version of any competitive products to maintain their billable services and customer dependencies. It is completely understandable from their perspective but not in the best interest of the consumer.

Private MultiCloud Storage (PMCS) from Madison Cloud was built to free organizations from the limitations of public cloud service providers. PMCS is a centralized standalone private storage cloud that allows users to continue running compute workloads in the cloud of their choice (e.g., AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.). It solves the multi-cloud data problem.

The flexibility of Madison Cloud Private MultiCloud Storage is also noteworthy as it gives organizations the control to manage their entire cloud data footprint (file, block, and object) through a single management console; a management console that can be operated from a tablet or even phone. There is even the ability to integrate an organization’s entire on-premises data footprint within the same console. The end result is cloud-level flexibility and simplicity on the storage layer that is long overdue.

If your multi-cloud strategy is being held back by the data gravity and vendor lock-in problem, the Madison Cloud team can help you free your cloud ambitions so you can utilize the best of cloud to meet the needs of your organization. Email contact@creative813.website or visit madisoncloud.com for more information.