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Organizations are increasingly getting dependent on hybrid cloud infrastructures for managing cloud storage through both local and off-site resources. Growing reliance on the hybrid cloud has transformed conventional SAN management and how businesses are responding to these changes. 

Traditional data centers and storage architectures have been replaced with software-defined storage architecture with the advent of hybrid cloud. Cloud storage provides features such as reliability, agility, security, and scalability on demand, storage, etc. According to a research published by 451 research institution, currently, 90% of companies are in the cloud, and more than 60% of workloads are running on a hosted cloud service. Data storage has seen an intriguing series of twists and turns, and so have Storage Area Networks (SAN). 

Storage Area Networks provide block-level storage to hosts using remote connection. Through SAN, applications can access as much storage as they need, as with Amazon EBS. Data is increasingly moving to the cloud, which gradually led SAN management to adapt to new changes. 

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Bridging the gap between a traditional SAN management system and a new hybrid cloud storage model

Traditional SAN models require great precision as every element in the design and architecture is physically supported and documented. Admins have to give detailed attention to the SAN hosts, targets, Logical Unit Number (LUN) management, storage systems for seamless functioning. Maintaining efficiency in SAN systems is very intricate as the admins need to focus more on organizing and grouping while monitoring everything.

To cut down all these efforts, enterprises started transitioning to a cloud-only approach. However, as enterprises tried to do so, they faced issues related to cost, data security, and migration.

The hybrid cloud trend then came into play because public cloud storage costs burnt a hole in the pocket of organizations. Besides the lower capital expenditures, hybrid cloud storage showcased several other perks such as improved security, better support for a remote workforce, better scalability and control, and much more. However, the path to transitioning towards hybrid cloud isn’t easy. IT architects should work with the objective of creating a full-proof IT infrastructure that is cost-efficient, secure, and stable across both SAN and cloud platforms. Moreover, Several data compliance requirements such as the GDPR and HIPAA regulate and govern what goes into the cloud and what stays on-premise. In addition to all this the performance indicators also need attention.

Hybrid Cloud Storage and SAN Management

There is no denying from how the hybrid cloud has tremendously changed enterprise storage. The shift towards hybrid cloud has also moved the focus of SAN management. Smarter enterprises are following best practices to adjust to these changes without disruption:

Automation

Creating new resources and managing them is becoming hectic and resource intensive. Smarter enterprises are using automation to replaces manual resource creation, testing, and retiring resources when they are no longer in use while improving workload management. In the cloud, automation requires specialized tools such as Microsoft Azure, AWS Cloud formation, Google Cloud Deployment Manager, etc. Cloud has templates for enabling automated deployments and scheduling automatic restart of servers that don’t require around the clock uptime. Just like the cloud, there are several options for automating on-site SAN management as well, such as Broadcom CA Automation, Ansible, etc. 

Resource Management and cost control

Resources management is necessary for controlling costs in a hybrid cloud environment. Organizations must have a sound understanding of the cloud and SAN management. A keen understanding facilitates better evaluation of the services and tools purchased for planning development, and monitoring infrastructure resources. Local SAN deployments generally come with management tools, but third-party tools can also be accessed for resource management. Nonetheless, on the cloud side, smarter enterprises are focusing on reviewing and downsizing underutilized resources to save on additional expenses. 

Cost management and efficient hybrid cloud models go hand-in-hand. After switching to cloud resources, organizations are prioritizing billing, resource usage, security, storage optimization, and contract management.

Data and security compliance

In a hybrid cloud ecosystem, handling security factors is one of the prime concerns. Data and security compliance are critical factors that need to be aligned with the security goals and the offerings of the on-site providers. Therefore, organizations transitioning to cloud are closely evaluating what is offered by default and what will come as an extra expense. Understanding security goals is helping them to distinguish the responsibilities of the cloud provider and local IT teams while underlining security measures such as multi-factor authentication.

Infrastructure and virtualization

Enterprises are re-thinking the initial infrastructure framework to smoothen hybrid cloud transitioning. This includes considering the application infrastructure, load balancing model, virtualization technology, etc. They are also closely evaluating data reduction, data encryption, reporting, local network design, hybrid arrays vs. all-flash, etc. 

Deployment of a hybrid cloud storage requires a long-range vision. Organizations need to focus on meeting capabilities and making their data secure. Migrating to the cloud is a huge step both financially and demographically. Therefore, a sustainable action plan is the need of the hour to make hybrid cloud migration successful.