Managing the storage inefficiencies in cloud-native environments


Cloud computing offers various advantages, and it’s no surprise that organizations of all sizes are rushing to utilize it. The global cloud computing market is witnessing impressive growth. While the advantages of cloud computing are apparent, there are challenges too. Native cloud offerings have storage inefficiencies and this can impede the greater adoption of cloud computing. In this article, we talk about these inefficiencies and how organizations are managing them.

The growing market of cloud computing

Cloud computing helps organizations to reduce their IT infrastructure costs. Moreover, cloud computing helps to improve scalability. Organizations take advantage of cloud computing to embrace mobile solutions. Managed cloud providers also help significantly with disaster recovery and provide a competitive edge.

Naturally, the market for cloud computing is growing rapidly. A MarketsandMarkets report estimates that the global cloud computing market will grow from $272.0 billion in 2018 to $623.3 billion in 2023.

The inefficiencies in native cloud offerings

Greater adoption of cloud computing requires addressing a few key challenges.

We are talking about these challenges in the context of cloud-native offerings here. As the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) defines, cloud-native systems are “resilient, manageable, and observable”. Containers and microservices are a few examples of technologies and architectures that can utilize the cloud-native approach, according to CNCF.

The key challenges in this category are as follows:

  • Difficulties in moving data into the cloud: Large and heavy-duty applications process a very high volume of data. Companies with many such workloads have a large volume of data. Think of enterprises and their heavy-duty applications. It’s hard to move this data to the cloud. Once you move it to the cloud provided by one Managed Cloud Provider, you will find it hard to move it to another provider.
  • Data security and controls: Enterprises deal with sensitive data and they can implement stringent data security mechanisms and controls on-premises. They find it hard to replicate such security mechanisms and controls on a native public cloud.
  • The lack of capabilities: Organizations often lack the capabilities to effectively manage data once they embrace cloud-native offerings. This can hamper many aspects like data protection or interfacing with other applications.
  • The lack of modern approaches to storage management techniques: Cloud-native offerings on public cloud often lack modern approaches and technologies to manage storage efficiently. For example, they lack efficiency-friendly features like compression, deduplication, etc. This means that the volume of your data is significantly larger on the native cloud than it was on-premises! In turn, this means higher cloud storage costs for you.
  • Difficulties in integrating cloud-native storage with on-premise infrastructure: Organizations will continue to utilize their on-premise IT infrastructure for quite some time to come. It’s a reality, and it’s driven by several factors such as high-value IT assets, security, regulations, etc. You need your cloud-native storage to integrate effectively with your on-premise IT applications, storage, etc. Presently, such integration isn’t easy.

Addressing the inefficiencies in cloud-native offerings

Thankfully, innovative organizations have come forward to provide solutions to these challenges. They are using various technologies and solutions for this, which include the following:

  • Thin provisioning: This storage management approach reserves storage capacity and allocates it on demand. In this approach, you use a shared storage pool for on demand allocation of storage capacity.
  • Compression: This technique compresses files to reduce storage requirements.
  • Deduplication: With this technique, you can remove redundant data segments. This reduces the size of data. Thanks to deduplication, you can notably reduce the storage requirements. There is more to it though. When we talk about using cloud-native offerings in an enterprise context, we are talking about transferring a large volume of data over WAN (Wide Area Network). Deduplication reduces the amount of data you transfer, which results in faster data transfer. 
  • Storage tiering: Storage tiering is one of the more modern strategies to manage storage effectively. This strategy categorizes data based on its value and how frequently you access it. You use different categories of storage media for each category. Consider an example where you have categorized your data into 3 categories. The first category is most-frequently-accessed data. The second category refers to data belonging that you access fewer times than the first category. You slot the data that you access the least into the 3rd category. As the next step, you choose different kinds of storage media for each category. You can use SSD disks for the first category since this is fast. For the 2nd category, you can use magnetic disk drives. You use object-storage for the 3rd category. This optimizes your storage costs.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP from NetApp: An example of addressing the inefficiencies in cloud-native offerings

Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the data management software from NetApp is helping organizations to address the inefficiencies in cloud-native offerings. CVO offers the following advantages:

  • It minimizes Capex and Opex for cloud-native storage.
  • You can provision storage quickly for key business apps like SAP, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, etc.
  • CVO automates storage tiering, which delivers cost savings.
  • CVO provides the high performance that the critical workloads in an organization require.
  • It makes it easy to deploy enterprise applications on NetApp cloud storage.
  • CVO provides integrated data protection, which prevents data loss. It also makes data recovery easier.
  • Thanks to its high availability and resilient capabilities, CVO prevents disruptions to your critical workloads. CVO covers your business continuity well.
  • CVO provides built-in data security, which protects your confidential corporate data. For example, it provides protection against ransomware attacks. CVO also offers encryption solutions from NetApp.
  • You can easily integrate your on-premise data repository and apps with your cloud-native workload using CVO.
  • CVO delivers storage efficiency since it uses modern technologies and approaches like deduplication, compression, etc.
  • You can use CVO with key managed cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure.
  • CVO helps you to meet your data retention and compliance requirements. For example, CVO incorporates the “right-to-erasure” capability, which helps you to meet GDPR requirements.


Cloud computing promises a lot. However, the inefficiencies in cloud-native storage can hamper the larger adoption of cloud. Thankfully, solutions to these inefficiencies exist. Offerings like Cloud Volumes ONTAP from NetApp are already at work to solve these inefficiencies.