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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cloud Storage Use Cases

network-folder-smooth_whiteIf you are thinking about the cloud storage, as the CIO or owner of a small and medium sized business, you are probably thinking about how to best leverage the cloud, while making a seamless integration with your existing IT infrastructure and local storage.
As an observation from the market and from the Gladinet user base, there are several use cases that stand out as good ways to leverage cloud storage.

1. Backup & Restore

There are many online storage services, such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Docs, Amazon S3 and so on. People are looking for ways to quickly backup local folders and files to online storage.
Also for those that are already using cloud storage, a reverse backup from cloud to local is also important since local storage is bigger and cheaper at the current cloud computing evolution.
This use case can be used to replace tape backup or used as a compliment to the existing on-premise backup solutions.

2. Anywhere Access

Many of the existing online storage services have web browser based access. Many have API (Application Programming Interface) access. Only a few has direct desktop access. This year we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the PC. People saw DOS with floppy drive; Windows with hard drive and USB drive; Windows Server with distributed file system and network drive. People are used to access storage with a drive letter.
Internet in the office and at home are fast with DSL and Cable. Accessing cloud storage with a network drive is a good use case. This provide random and explorer based file editing and viewing capabilities with cloud storage.
The use case can replace VPN (virtual private network)-based access solution.

3. Sync & Replicate

Sync is good for offline access. Cloud storage can be used to connect PCs from different locations such as from office and from home. Sync can also be used to connect PCs from different users. Sync can also used to connect two different file servers.

4. Virtual Office

With Windows File Server, people can collaborate and share with network drives mapped to the file server, with Active Directory identities. Cloud storage helps people collaborate even when they are not all in the same location. People can work from home and still share same company identity and controlled access.

5. Integration with Work Flow

Real estates companies may need to put pictures of properties online for customers to see. Dental offices may need to scan medical records and store them electronically. Cloud storage can be integrated into these work flows that are specific to each business.
More and more software will be providing cloud connectors too to facilitate the integration. For example, Nuance cloud connector can be used with OmniPage and PaperPort to help people organized digital contents in the cloud.


These use cases can be remembered as BASIC (Backup, Access, Sync & Share, Identity & Integration, Control & Collaborate)

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