Low-cost cloud data storage and archiving solutions offer a wealth of benefits to medium and large enterprises, but with so many options out there, it can be a daunting process trying to figure out which solution best fits your needs.

Many in-house IT managers have taken on the task of selecting and implementing the most likely contenders themselves, often based on many weeks of detailed and time-consuming research. Without an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of all the systems on offer, however, these stories don’t always have a happy ending.

“Having worked with all the leading archiving vendors and having also completed over 50 inter-archive migrations, I can certainly understand why IT managers might struggle during the selection process,” says Chris Hathaway, Founder and Director of Soarsoft International, a vendor-agnostic information management and migration specialist.

“There are countless options out there, and the available information on each doesn’t always cover the full range of pros and cons. It’s really only when you start working with a solution in the enterprise and at scale that the details – and potential complications – begin to surface.”

Geoff Bourgeois, CEO and co-founder of data-aware cloud archive solution, HubStor, reveals that this very phenomenon has seen several clients approaching his company after multiple failed attempts at using popular alternatives.

“We recently had a contact approach us looking to move 10 petabytes of file server data to the cloud,” he says. “Amazon Glacier had failed, StorSimple had failed, and they needed a solution that addressed the reasons those two didn’t work.”

While neither Glacier nor StorSimple are poor solutions, they simply didn’t fit this particular customer’s requirements. HubStor, as it turned out, was an excellent choice. Unfortunately, by the time the customer came to that realisation, countless hours and dollars had already been wasted.

“It’s this kind of situation that makes using a specialist service provider like Soarsoft International so valuable,” says Hathaway. “We have the in-depth product knowledge to sit down, discuss and clarify your operational requirements, and propose a best-fit solution that gives you exactly what you need, onsite or in the cloud, first time round.”

While the time- and money-saving aspects of avoiding false starts and abortive efforts can be significant, there are more benefits to using a specialist service provider as well.

“We see a huge number of clients who simply aren’t aware of the new cloud-based tools, or don’t understand the functionality in their existing tools and licensing, and are paying twice for services they already have,” says Hathaway. “A specialist will be able to leverage existing licensing and infrastructure to its fullest, simplifying and streamlining systems to reduce things like storage and software costs, while adding tangible value to day-to-day enterprise operations.”

Many enterprises will doubtless continue to opt for a self-service approach to cloud storage and archive migrations, but Hathaway warns they may be disappointed in the “savings” this method provides.

“In most cases, using an expert service provider is not only the least risky option, it’s also the most cost-effective at the end of the day,” he says.

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