From The Expert Feature Article
February 10, 2016

Calling All MSPs: You Need to Solve the Data Mobility Problem

By Special Guest
Ellen Rubin, CEO of ClearSky Data

Let’s say one of your clients wants to move forward with a hybrid cloud strategy. Everything goes smoothly as you choose a cloud provider, designate which parts of the company’s data belong in the cloud and put the appropriate management and security measures in place. Then, you hit a roadblock as old as hybrid cloud itself: data mobility.

The sheer amount of enterprise data is massive, and it’s growing all the time. Moving this data between locations is a headache. The same bottlenecks that existed when public clouds first became popular still pose a serious problem for the IT industry, even though other areas of networking and cloud have evolved significantly.

Few groups are more familiar with these issues than MSPs, and few are more aware that working around the problem is no longer an option. By avoiding the common mistakes noted below and addressing data mobility head-on, you can knock down the obstacles that once held you back and ensure a seamless cloud transition for your clients.

Don’t plan a visit to a data island.

Most of the data that enterprises need to access is confined to one location. It might be in transit, hosted in the cloud or stored on-premises. In any case, when data gets stuck because it’s too costly, time-consuming or otherwise difficult to move, that data’s owner can get locked into specific architectures and even vendors. Before you begin forging your path to improved data mobility, one of your top priorities has to be keeping data accessible in applications, and avoiding the time, effort and cost that frequently cause data sets to become stranded on their own private islands.

Address your customers’ cloud fears.

It’s not realistic for most companies to store all of their data on-premises, but any MSP has heard of at least one company that let its data mobility problems evolve into a client’s irrational fear of the cloud. It’s no surprise. Most cloud services on today’s market run through existing networks that are not optimized for the cloud. This means that they take considerable time to move data, and when you’re working with large data sets, the process becomes fraught with downtime that your customers may not be able to afford.

Don’t sit back and assume these hesitations will dissipate without being addressed. By educating your customers about the root causes for network delays, you can help them avoid cloud fears and embrace next-generation solutions that optimize data throughout its lifecycle.

Know that now is not the time to get physical.

Using ground transportation services, you can move your customers’ servers and storage containers between locations. You can also build literal information superhighways – faster, wider channels based on specific bandwidth requirements, with compute recreated in the cloud. Some companies are already turning to these types of physical solutions to circumvent the data mobility issues and fundamental latency issues that run rampant throughout today’s networks.

However, for MSPs, a customer deploying such physical solutions would demand internal support from your team to run compute alongside networking in the cloud, which you may not be prepared to staff. Doing so involves rebuilding systems, optimizing them for the cloud and designing them with ingrained security measures. What’s more, most enterprises are looking to shrink the traditional data center’s costly, complex physical footprint, not add new infrastructure to it.

Avoid limiting your approach – offer data mobility solutions on-demand.

Every aspect of the IT industry is moving toward an on-demand service model, and data mobility solutions should follow suit. Applications perform best when their data is easily accessible, and large data sets can act like a ball and chain for organizations adapting a hybrid model or looking to streamline operations. Help your customers gauge their specific data needs and customize their IT strategies accordingly. When possible, work with private networks, and optimize data throughout its lifecycle – from primary to backup and disaster recovery data, and back again.

Make data mobility work for you and for your clients.

Don’t subject your customers to solutions that merely bandage the data mobility problem. You’ll run into long-standing issues down the road, and some customers might abandon their cloud goals entirely. Instead, by moving data securely and in an optimized manner between environments, your team can help customers overcome chronic issues and embrace the future of on-demand services.

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to-market efforts for fast-growing companies. ClearSky Data’s global storage network simplifies the entire data lifecycle and delivers enterprise storage as a fully managed service. Most recently, Ellen was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud-enablement software company that was acquired by Verizon (News - Alert) in 2011.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere