Toigo: Clouds and IT infrastructure management

Relying on the cloud to protect your data and serve as a failover option isn't wrong, but it's worth doing a lot of research before you choose a cloud vendor for your organization. In this Storage Decisions video, Jon Toigo, founder of Toigo Partners International, cuts through marketing speak and discusses what cloud really is and what it's capable of doing well when it comes to IT infrastructure management.

"Clouds are data centers. I don't understand why we call them clouds. They are colo facilities -- they are networked colo facilities, no reason to call them a cloud," said Toigo. "In fact, I wish the whole cloud idea would come down to Earth and we could call them a fog strategy instead."

He said cloud vendors do suffer service interruptions -- including major providers like Nirvanix and Amazon. Organizations need to ask the right questions when it comes to their IT infrastructure management.

Toigo recommends that recovery of data comes from tape or is delivered by a courier.

"All claim to be Tier 1 data centers, but some of the ones I've been to, their equipment is on one rack, in a cage, in the corner of some facility…. All [providers] claim to have their own continuity capability, but nobody ever checks," said Toigo, adding that organizations should investigate a vendor's advertised claims for services and compare the cost of a third-party cloud service against a do-it-yourself project.

He said that cloud can be used as a backup for a smaller office environment and as "safety copies" of key data, although he recommends that recovery of data comes from tape or is delivered by a courier. "Basically, I want to look at clouds as another tool, as a way to protect data that leverages any-to-any connectivity," he said.

And he noted that private clouds are fundamentally different from public cloud services. He said that clouds were originally intended as a way of allowing far-flung groups to collaborate online, as a "Go-To-Meeting on steroids," he said. He distinguished private clouds as a way of bringing management to IT infrastructure.

"Most disasters result from the consequence of things we could have prevented if we had eyes on our infrastructure," he said. He later added that it would help to know what's in an IT infrastructure and how to manage it.

"Frankly, if cloud is just a metaphor for improved management, [and] if we spent a fraction of what we're spending today on virtualizing servers instead of deploying management utilities for our environment that let us see where everything is, I think we'd be in a much better place, " Toigo said. 

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