Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Data Management in the virtual World


The popularity of public cloud offerings have blossomed, and with Microsoft expanding Windows Azure globally it looks as though cloud computing is here to stay. However, there are certain drawbacks and obstacles to overcome if corporate users wish to implement cloud-based file sharing for good. A public cloud offering is great for the masses but is still not secure enough to convince CTOs at large corporations to make the switch. Data management in the Virtual world therefore becomes, a heated debate.

Cloud Management 

From chain retail locations to multinational corporations, the very mention of the word cloud challenges tradition. This is because the cloud pools multiple machines together to share resources and space on a network. But wherever there's shared space, there's a risk of security breach. Speed and reliability are also a concern for larger organizations. In the cloud, users create their own virtual server from a pooled resource; a cluster of servers strung together and partitioned off accordingly. Cloud management is potentially problematic because its reliance is dependent on a robust physical environment. 

The more data users push through the shared network, the higher the risk of network latency. Furthermore, the corporate cloud must be resilient enough to prevent network latencies from bogging down the switchgear and routers. Of course, all this info is passed through the virtual environment to servers located inside a data center facility. Even cloud providers need such a facility to house, manage and maintain this cluster of cloud servers in an effort to prevent downtime and boost security on all levels; the physical and the virtual level. So the issue of security and performance in the cloud, be it a public or private offering, is still omnipresent. So where does this leave us?

The Cloud Vs. Tradition 

Think of it this way; every online transaction eventually makes its way to a physical server. The question is, do you really want your money or precious data handled through a massive public cloud offering, without any robust level of security? Experts argue that the risk isn't much more than what we're used when we log into our Gmail accounts. So we don't care about the risk. Ultimately, the benefits of things like Windows Azure (or Gmail for that matter) far outweigh the risk of any data breach. However, CTOs at large corporations still see the cloud as an imminent threat to daily operations because of these risks. Until this fine technology comes around to improving switchgear, firewalls and virtual security, it's best to stick to tradition. 

About the author: James Mulvey, a content writer and blog director at Colocation America, wrote this post.