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Why Multi-cloud Storage Virtualization Matters for CIOs and CISOs



As a CIO or CISO, you manage complex data requirements that involve balancing innovation with efficiency, productivity with employee access, and cost-effectiveness with performance and security. However, in today's hybrid and multi-cloud platforms, corporate data handling and management has become even more complicated as there are various storage environments. This is where multi-cloud storage virtualization comes into play to simplify things.


Multi-cloud storage virtualization is now a crucial technology for modern CIOs/CISOs. It is a strategy that unifies the storage services of multiple cloud vendors into a single, virtualized environment. This enables organizations to benefit from each cloud provider's best features and functionalities while simplifying storage management and potentially reducing costs.


Many organizations would benefit from the ability to view and manage their on-premises and cloud storage resources in a single, unified storage pool. This would make accessing and managing everything from one central dashboard seamless. Multi-cloud storage virtualization is a game-changing technology that is here to stay. It simplifies data management, optimizes costs, boosts agility, encourages data sovereignty, and can significantly strengthen data security. 


CIOs and CISOs have different focused use cases and priorities that they focus on when considering multi-cloud storage virtualization. A CIO will look at the following:

  • Modernizing Legacy Applications: Migrate legacy applications to a more modern, cloud-based storage infrastructure without vendor lock-in.

  • Retiring legacy applications: many organizations keep costly, aging applications running for regulatory compliance requirements or due to pending or current litigation and eDiscovery. However, in many cases, the data can be migrated to a cloud to keep it available for search and reference while closing the legacy application – thereby freeing up the cost of annual hardware purchases, annual software maintenance agreements, backup and DR requirements, and costly data security requirements.  

  • Supporting Hybrid Cloud Deployments: Seamlessly integrate on-premises storage with public cloud resources for a unified storage experience.

  • Enabling Data Analytics: Leverage cloud storage solutions designed for big data analytics, facilitating insights and data-driven decision-making.


On the other hand, a CISO would be interested in multi-cloud storage virtualization for use cases related to enhancing security, mitigating risk, and improving data governance. These include:

Strengthening Security Posture: 

  • Data Defense in Depth: Leverage different cloud providers' diverse security features and controls, creating a layered defense against potential threats. This could include utilizing different encryption methods, access control policies, and intrusion detection systems across platforms.

  • Improved Threat Detection: Utilize analytics and monitoring tools offered by various cloud providers to gain a broader view of potential security risks and incidents across the entire storage infrastructure.

  • Enhanced Security Compliance: Implement multi-cloud storage to comply with specific data security regulations (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, SEC) by choosing providers who demonstrate strong compliance practices and offer features aligned with regulations.


Mitigating Data Risks:

  • Increased Data Resiliency: Potentially distribute data across multiple cloud regions, ensuring redundancy and availability in case of outages or disasters. This allows for quick recovery and minimizes data loss risk.

  • Improved Disaster Recovery: Leverage multi-cloud storage for robust disaster recovery planning. Utilize recovery mechanisms to seamlessly migrate data back to the original cloud platform after a significant incident.

  • Enhanced Data Encryption: Combine encryption capabilities from different providers to ensure all data, at rest and in transit, is securely protected, further minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

  • Protect against ransomware: Encrypting sensitive data and storing two copies on an immutable storage tier guarantees your data cannot be opened, copied, or deleted. 


Data Governance and Control:

  • Granular Access Controls: Implement more granular and centralized access control across multiple cloud storage platforms, ensuring only authorized individuals can access specific data based on need-to-know principles.

  • Streamlined Data Auditing: Utilize auditing tools and logs offered by multiple providers to gain a comprehensive view of data access and activity across the entire storage infrastructure, simplifying compliance audits and investigations.

  • Improved Data Lifecycle Management: Implement consistent data lifecycle management policies across different cloud storage solutions, ensuring proper data classification, retention, and deletion based on organizational policies and regulations.

  • Centralized and automated data movement: Your corporate data can be automatically migrated across cloud platforms based on policies. For example, data stored on expensive tier 1 cloud storage that has not been accessed in over 12 months can be automatically moved to a less costly storage tier or different cloud platform.

  • Compliant Data Sovereignty: Many countries and government agencies have created regulations that require data created in a specific geography to remain in that geography. 

What does it take to implement multi-cloud storage virtualization successfully?

In multi-cloud storage virtualization, there are several important elements to consider. These include cloud storage services, virtualization software layer, and storage management tools that offer functions such as data migration, deduplication, data replication, and disaster recovery. CIOs and CISOs should assess the following factors before selecting a multi-cloud storage virtualization platform. Essential aspects to evaluate include: 

Technical Considerations

  • Platform Compatibility: Ensure the solution integrates seamlessly with your existing and planned storage infrastructure and applications across different cloud providers

  • Performance and Scalability: Evaluate the platform's ability to handle data volumes, access speeds, and potential scaling needs within your organization

  • Data Security Features: Assess the platform's security capabilities, including encryption, access control, auditing, external evaluations, references, and compliance support

  • Management Tools: Ensure the platform offers robust management tools for data migration, replication, deduplication, provisioning, and monitoring across various cloud environments


Cost and Pricing:

  • Pricing Models: Understand the platform's pricing structure and compare it with individual cloud storage costs to assess potential cost savings, return on investment (ROI), or pricing complexities

  • Hidden Costs: Factor in potential hidden costs like ingest and exfiltration fees, geographic replication, API calls, and management overhead associated with the platform

  • Vendor Lock-in: Avoid vendor lock-in by choosing a platform with open APIs and vendor-neutral data formats for easy migration if needed later


Organizational Factors:

  • IT Skills and Expertise: Assess your IT team's skills and readiness to manage a multi-cloud storage environment with potential complexities. Once in place, a highly rated-solution will need little or no special management

  • Change Management: Plan for potential resistance to change and implement effective communication and training strategies for user adoption. But again, with the best solution, end users should not notice the change and would not need additional training

  • Compliance Requirements: Ensure the platform supports your organization's specific data residency, data privacy regulations, and data security compliance regulations


Additional Considerations Before Purchase:

  • Vendor Reputation and Support: Choose a reputable platform vendor with a proven track record, strong customer support, recent references, and active product development

  • Community and Resources: Investigate the availability of community forums, documentation, and learning resources for the platform to support your team

  • Proof of Concepts (POCs): Conduct POCs with potential platforms to evaluate performance, functionality, and suitability for your specific needs


Storage virtualization solutions have been available for several years. However, integrating cloud platforms in the virtualization layer is relatively recent. As more and more organizations embrace digital transformation and adopt cloud computing, it is becoming increasingly important to include cloud storage virtualization platforms in your organizational strategy. Your organization can benefit greatly by adapting storage virtualization to multi-cloud environments. Increased flexibility: 

  • Organizations can choose the best cloud storage offering for each specific workload or data type.

  • Improved performance and scalability: Combine resources from multiple providers to meet fluctuating regulatory storage demands and access requirements.

  • Enhanced security and compliance: Leverage the security features of different cloud providers to meet specific legal and business requirements.

  • Reduced vendor lock-in: Avoid dependence on a single vendor and negotiate better pricing with flexibility.

  • Cost optimization: Choose the most cost-effective storage options from various providers for different data types.

Multi-cloud storage virtualization is helpful for organizations that want to optimize their storage infrastructure and enjoy the benefits of using multiple cloud providers. However, evaluating your organization's specific challenges and selecting the best technology suited to your needs is important. 


restorVault’s multi-cloud storage virtualization

RestorVault has been a leader in enterprise storage virtualization solutions for many years and awarded several US patents. Their storage virtualization solutions offer multiple benefits to organizations, including:

  1. Enhanced storage utilization and simplified data management capabilities

  2. Improved data availability and resilience

  3. Simplified scalability and flexibility

  4. Hybrid virtualization capability across both on-prem and cloud platforms

  5. Cost efficiency and investment protection

  6. Data protection against disasters and ransomware attacks (data encryption and immutable storage tiers)

  7. And the ability to duplicate, move, and share large, unstructured data sets without the need for time-consuming and risky large-scale data migrations


Based on the policies, restorVault provides a storage virtualization solution that replaces files in an on-prem or cloud repository - such as a file share. It replaces these files with a pointer or virtual data file that directs to the original file in the encrypted and immutable restorVault cloud. When a user clicks on a virtual data file (link) in their file explorer, the actual file is instantly retrieved from the restorVault cloud platform for viewing and ongoing work.


This implementation of storage virtualization in the immutable restorVault trusted cloud repository eliminates the need for multiple backups of inactive data, saving resources.


restorVault data virtualization frees up large amounts of costly tier 1 enterprise storage for priority use by active data. 


By storing your sensitive and inactive files in a secure, trusted, and cost-effective cloud repository, you can reduce the size of your enterprise backups by approximately 80%. This results in faster data restoration and helps free up expensive enterprise and tier-1 cloud storage. In fact, for every terabyte (TB) of restorVault virtual cloud storage, you can recover 80% of primary, backup, and other cloud platform storage costs.


restorVault multi-cloud storage virtualization solutions protect your on-prem sensitive data while providing secure, on-demand access and automated migration to all the most popular public clouds - all without the need to synchronize massive amounts of data between on-prem storage resources, private clouds, and public clouds. 


​restorVault customers can easily migrate and automatically move data between Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and other cloud platforms without fear of vendor/platform lock-in. End-users don’t need to learn or access individual clouds when searching for data. Instead, they can search for their data (across multiple clouds) from their local file explorer application. 


 

Contact us today to learn how restorVault can be your bridge to the Hybrid Cloud/Multi-Cloud landscape. 




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