Amazon S3 – To Store or Not to Store

Mar 7 2013 | by Zev Schonberg

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A recent Symantec report highlighted how enterprises and SMBs are barely leveraging the efficiencies of cloud storage with only a 17% utilization rate of available cloud storage. Symantec claims that this results in companies “paying for roughly 6 times as much storage as they actually need”.

While we believe that this picture will change soon, here are some pros and cons that might be affecting cloud storage adoption.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Many enterprises have already made significant investments into on-premise filers creating more than adequate storage capacity. With infrastructure already paid for and completely functional, it makes little financial and operational sense to move data to cloud storage. Even with all the ongoing on-premise storage expenses such as maintenance, electricity, etc. the cost is still significantly lower than comparable Amazon S3 storage.

Where exactly is that file being stored?

Compliance is a very serious issue for many industries, such as banking, e-commerce and others. Customer data and PII often have strict rules governing the exact location of their storage. Companies who want to stay on the right side of regulatory bodies need to know where things are being stored. As AWS, for example, doesn’t provide insight into where they are storing your data, companies that operate in countries with stricter rules will shy away from the public cloud as a storage option.

Additional concerns

Another issue is bandwidth as transferring large quantities of data to the cloud can be quite tedious. Additionally, there exists a strong perception that the cloud is not as secure as on-premise. As such, companies with sensitive data might be more hesitant to put their storage into the cloud.

But S3 will win in the end

As on-premise hardware ages, bandwidth increases and new storage needs come online, the cloud will ultimately get the glory it deserves. With easy deployment, scalability, tiered storage as well as pricing where you only pay for what you use, S3 and other cloud storage will likely become the default option for enterprise and SMB.
Without a doubt, as AWS and friends improve their offerings, the above-mentioned concerns like security, compliance and storage cost transparency will also become complete non-issues.

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