Chris Mellor wrote an article for The Register yesterday on cloud storage. At the end of it all, Chris malappropriated the famous soliloquy from the movie Dirty Harry:
“Being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful cloud storage service in the world, and would blow your SAN head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? “Well do ya, punk?” ®
For those unfamiliar with the movie, the context here is that a violent detective (Dirty Harry) has caught a psychotic serial killer and asks him the ultimate question about his fate. Tension builds with the realization that Harry is asking himself the same question because he is unsure if there are any bullets left in his gun. He obviously wants to find out, but struggles with a good cop vs evil cop dichotomy. He needs his psychopathic adversary to make the first move, but he seems awfully confident.
It doesn’t have much to do with cloud storage, other than suggesting the question of fate – something that storage administrators think about with regards to data more often than they think about their own.
So what is the fate of data stored in the cloud and what sorts of steps do cloud service providers take to give customers re-assurances that theirs is safe? You can’t plan for everything, but you can plan to cover an awful lot of mayhem that can occur.
For starters you can store data in multiple locations to protect from being unable to access data from a single cloud site. As Chris’ article pointed out, StorSimple allows customers to do that. They can store data in separate discrete regions run by a single service provider or they can store data in cloud data centers run by different cloud service providers. Different customers will have different comfort levels where cloud redundancy is concerned.
But it’s important to know that cloud storage service providers already store data in multiple locations anyway to protect against an outage at a single site that could cause a data loss. Data in the cloud is typically stored multiple times at the site where it is first uploaded and then stored again at other sites in the cloud service provider’s network. Customers who are concerned about the fate of their data should discuss how this is done with the storage service providers they are considering because they are all a little different.
There is an awful lot of technology that has gone into cloud storage. We tend to think of it like a giant disk drive in the sky, but that is only the easiest way to think about it. Cloud storage – especially object storage in the cloud, the kind StorSimple uses and the stuff based on RESTful protocols has been amazingly reliable. There have been other problems with different aspects of the cloud, including block storage, but object storage has been rock solid. It’s not really about feeling lucky as Dirty (Chris) Harry suggested, it’s about the scalable and resilient architectures that have been built.
We would love to talk to you about cloud storage and how you can start using it. If you have a cloud service provider in mind, we are probably already working with them.