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Navigating the expenses of cloud storage in the government sector

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Public sector entities, like other fields, have shown interest in the adaptability cloud computing offers but are witnessing unpredictable and escalating expenditures. A significant amount of these expenses can be alleviated through meticulous planning and local infrastructure.

Current government advice advocates for a shift towards a strategy where the most suitable solution is employed for a specific issue, rather than a generic or blanket approach of relocating all applications to the cloud.

In this article, we will delve into the hurdles faced by public sector bodies and the measures they can adopt to ensure cost efficiency, scalability, and adherence to regulations.

Cloud storage conundrum

In the last two decades, cloud computing has revolutionized operations worldwide. The scalability, flexibility, and immediate availability of public clouds are unparalleled, but at what expense?

While public clouds effectively cater to fluctuating computing demands and usage patterns, the same cannot be said for storage. Unlike CPU and memory demands that vary with events or billing cycles, storage remains constant, necessitates retention, and cannot be deactivated at will.

Although storing data in cloud storage is generally cost-free, utilizing it or retrieving data incurs variable expenses that are hard to forecast.

Financial obstacles

Predictability reigns supreme in managing IT infrastructure. However, unexpected bills can cause significant disruptions, especially in sectors like government where budgets are closely regulated and there is a heightened obligation to the public being served.

Additionally, functionalities ensuring data safety and appropriate retention periods can drive up cloud computing costs even further. Balancing necessities with cost-effective delivery methods is crucial. A self-hosted or colocated system might deliver these features in a more foreseeable manner than a public cloud.

Dependable data security

Government divisions, including agencies and healthcare institutions, must securely retain data for extended durations, surpassing the lifespan of their initial hardware deployments. Choosing a storage system that guarantees safe data storage through replication or erasure coding, and can endure multiple hardware refreshes without jeopardizing data safety or accessibility, is paramount.

Simplicity

The more intricate a system is to manage, the higher the operational expenses become. Seek systems with high availability and self-healing capabilities to transparently handle hardware failures and enable batch replacements of failed components, reducing immediate maintenance costs.

Flexibility

With an expanding population, public sector entities must be able to scale their storage seamlessly as their service demands grow. It’s essential that a storage system permits organizations to effortlessly increase storage capacity without downtime. Conversely, the ability to downscale clusters when projects conclude is equally valuable for efficient resource utilization.

Regulatory compliance

Some datasets managed by public sector entities have stipulations regarding proving the authenticity of stored data. Maintaining the integrity of original data, without alteration, is crucial. Features like snapshots for volume backups or object versioning for object storage can ensure that original data remains accessible as it was initially recorded.

While traditional tape backups isolate immutable data copies, the utilization of digital evidence has made retrieval times increasingly challenging.

Explore Further

Although these challenges can be tackled with public cloud services, is this the most cost-effective solution? Our recent whitepaper reveals that, for certain scenarios, a colocated storage offering alongside a public cloud can deliver savings of more than 2-3x, even when outsourced as a fully managed service. Learn more:

More Information

  • Understanding Ceph
  • Webinar: Leveraging AI storage using Ceph
  • Webinar: Optimizing cloud storage expenses with Ceph
  • Managed Ceph solutions

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