IT Pros Ask Cloud Vendors the Right Questions

Decay is something that affects all parts of life. It even affects parts of the digital realm like digital bits and bytes. When it comes to the data in your company, that decay can endanger the enormous amount of critical information that IT departments are more than ever trusting to the cloud vendors to manage, store and protect. How can IT pros decide whether their chosen cloud vendors will protect data sufficiently? The answers start by asking the right questions.

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Data Durability In The Cloud

Durability of the cloud is one way to measure your data protection in the cloud. The durability of data depends on how the cloud providers clear up bit errors, or corrupted data that has been caused by bugs or data that is written incorrectly. The problem may be is that not all of the cloud vendors will offer durability guarantees, and there is little agreement among many vendors about how to correctly define durability in the first place.

There are two methods that some cloud providers use to protect their customers’ data and protect against the bit rot. One way is to keep numerous copies and to occasionally cross-reference the data against a previous correct copy. The second method is what is called erasure coding. It uses a mathematical algorithm that will compare a full data copy versus a smaller one. Erasure coding functions by dividing up the existing data into a few pieces and then storing those pieces across numerous locations.

Both of these methods have their benefits and drawbacks. The cross-referencing method does require cloud providers to store various copies of your data, which can be expensive. The benefit to customers is that they can get back up and running quicker as compared with the erasure coding method. The cost benefit analysis may vary for each company based on each businesses needs, but IT pros still must understand the vendors’ protection method to make an educated decision.

Data Durability and Data Protection

One of the best data protection methods varies for different data types, too. It is recommended to break data into two categories. The first category is data that is vital to the business; the second is any data that IT can recover with ease and which will not need the same level of pricey protection.

In a more traditional environment, we have business critical data, and it is something that is needed up all the time. Now there may be other items of data that can be easily rebuilt and that can be stored it at a smaller cost.

By better understanding how the cloud vendors protect their data, IT pros will get more peace of mind than a guarantee will ever be able to offer them. There are but a few standards for how cloud vendors will measure durability, and there is no guarantee that a cloud vendor will admit to a durability problem anyway.

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