New cloud storage technology solutions are hitting the market. The technology seems to be entering the next phase of development. The mature cloud storage models that are emerging are referred to as cloud storage clients, cloud storage gateways, cloud storage on ramps, edge devices and a host of other exotic names.

Cloud client is a single user device such as a desktop, laptop or PDA. A cloud gateway is a solution that is delivered on a server or router for multiple users from a single access point or device. An edge device is a network device that drives identity into the network with context aware, policy controlled; secure remote access applications at LAN speed.

This new powerful cloud technology integrates SSL VPN remote access security, offers application acceleration and service optimization at the edge of the network. The scalable platform provides a range of services in an efficient, scalable and cost effective platform with optional endpoint security service that

  1. Is validated with enterprise policy definitions
  2. Protects enterprise data against malware or virus attacks

Mature cloud technologies store data as “blobs” or “chunks” or as “original” data for ease of processing. There are tradeoffs associated with each type of approach.

A blob is defined as a single object or a collection of objects that is stored on a single server.  Objects can be file sets or a VM image. The data that is contained in the blob is a processed data. It may have been de-duplicated, compressed or encrypted before it was transmitted to the server as a blob. The retrieval process must decompress and decrypt the information contained in the blob to make it meaningful and useful to the end user.

A chunk is part of an object. The original object will have to be re-assembled by the cloud gateway that parsed the object and broke it down in to component chunks, if it must become meaningful to the user, when retrieved. De-duplication and compression or encryption technologies often work efficiently with chunks of data. Original objects are objects that are stored whole. These objects may be stored on a workstation client or CIFS or iSCSI attached storage devices.

It must be remembered that cloud storage requires significant use case consideration. Businesses must evaluate functionality both in the cloud and the gateway or client if they want to truly optimize on costs derive benefits from the mature technologies now available in the market. Different cloud service providers deploy the technology differently.  The storage solution must ultimately deliver value for money.