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Four barriers to hybrid cloud storage – and potential solutions

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Four barriers to hybrid cloud storage – and potential solutions

The cloud infrastructure market is estimated to be worth some $120bn, according to analyst house Forrester, and cloud storage accounts for a growing percentage of the enterprise storage market as it displaces on-premise arrays and appliances.

An emerging trend in cloud computing is hybrid cloud storage . Hybrid architectures enable organisations to use the same storage infrastructure in both public and on-premise. Hybrid allows data to seamlessly move between cloud storage, local datacentres, or between cloud storage providers.

With the increasing use of object storage technology, and widespread adoption of Amazon Web Service (AWS) S3 app programming interfaces (APIs), hybrid data storage is also gaining ground in enterprises.

This trend was accelerated by the need for organisations that provide remote workers with greater access to data during pandemics.

“Traditional corporate files servers behind firewalls, and VPNs[virtual private networks] can be cumbersome to use when your workforce are mostly remote or spread around the globe,” said Brent Ellis, senior analyst at Forrester.

“A hybrid-cloud server allows you to get files to people. It is easy to add storage, as you can use the cloud to expand your capacity.

Cloud storage is not without its challenges. These can vary depending on the application suite used, IT maturity, and workload. These are just a few of the common obstacles, but there are also some solutions.

Cloud is not suitable for all applications (or their storage)

Not all applications can run in the cloud. It could be that an application is compatible with the cloud, and it will run. However, the performance of cloud storage is not up to the business’s requirements.

Some applications require Posix-compliant storage to work. Posix-compliant storage systems that are not block or file format compatible exist. Object storage is not compatible with Posix.

Cloud providers have succeeded in moving file-based storage from the local hard drive to the cloud. This works for unstructured data as well as applications like archiving. Performance is good with this connection to the cloud. But for high-performance applications that rely on block storage, there is still a gap.

” For file, there are performance and management advantages to hybrid cloud storage when dealing with a distributed workforce,” Ellis says.

” Hybrid solutions are flexible and allow for better performance management. Block is more about letting the application layer use cloud resources, and storage that is flexible. However, performance management must be planned.

Block storage is still the best option. You can customize your arrays to fit your applications. Block storage is best for database-based applications.

The solution is to have some workloads kept on-premise and put other, less-demanding ones in the cloud. There are technologies that enable workloads to be moved between the cloud and on-premise.

One refers to Amazon S3 on Outposts. This is where AWS supplies object storage (on-premise S3). Ellis also mentions Project Alpine, a Dell initiative that can transfer a Power Store volume from cloud to on-premise hardware.

” These hybrid systems must be built in datacentres with high-speed interconnects to the cloud to achieve that performance,” he said. “The benefit is to use compute or serverless functions from multiple cloud providers, and they must be able to abstract storage across multiple environments including on-premise.”

Hybrid cloud is more complex – and harder to manage

Hybrid storage system can also lead to complexity. One area that can be complicated is the management layer. Some industry observers believe hybrid storage systems are more complex than all-cloud or all-on-premise systems.
Administrators will have to deal at the most with two management interfaces.

” To take advantage some of the latest technologies, you often need to spend effort on transforming applications so they can take advantage,” says Tom Bragg (consultants KPMG), an IT infrastructure architect.

” This means you need to find people who are still able to write applications. You also have to store all the source code that you have… It is not always easy. Data storage is always going to be a problem.

The answer is to find technology that works, out of the box, across both environments. These include S3 Outposts and IBM Cloud Object Storage. NetApp’s StorageGrid, Cloudian, Cloudian, Cloudian, Cloudian, Cloudian, and other technologies. One factor in IT managers’ favour is that most use the AWS S3 APIs as building blocks.

“Hybrid storage and multicloud storage to meet S3 compliance storage requirements is a simple solution,” Ellis from Forrester. It is much easier to transfer workloads from the cloud to on-premise applications by having a consistent object storage layer.

Hybrid cloud storage can cost more

Cloud storage can be expensive. Adding cloud capabilities to existing storage systems can increase costs dramatically.

Cloud offers benefits over the upfront cost of on-premises systems. However, firms may have to pay fees for both long-term storage and data egress.

Applications that go to the cloud may incur unanticipated data storage fees and/or costs for bringing it back in-house.
These fees can be avoided by firms by modeling their likely usage and costs and designing their cloud infrastructure to minimize egress costs.

” People tend to keep their data in one cloud or keep it in one cloud because they have the option. Bragg from KPMG says that it is expensive to move data and exfiltrate it each time. These costs can be offset by lower licensing fees and database administration expenses.

Cloud-native applications usually need object storage

The trend towards cloud-native apps is one of the strongest drivers for hybrid cloud and hybrid storage. Although it can be difficult to port traditional applications to the cloud, cloud technologies can be used on-premise.

This is still an area in development. However, if an app or workflow is capable of running in the cloud, it may also be run on-premise, cloud architecture or can move between cloud providers.

” Organisations need to find common ground across silos to make the most hybrid and multicloud. This means using Kubernetes, container-based apps, and Kubernetes, to create applications that can run in every cloud. Patrick Smith is the field chief technology officer (CTO), for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Pure Storage.

Containerisation does not solve the storage problem itself, but it gives developers a path to object storage. Ellis notes that hybrid storage should be cheaper and easier to use if there is competition among vendors.

A hybrid future?

It remains to be determined if containerisation will resolve all issues associated with hybrid architectures. According to Bragg at KPMG, most businesses want to migrate to the cloud. However, this is not yet the case. Hybrid can be a bridge to this future.

“You’ve accepted that you’ve got a five- to 10-year roadmap on-premise, so you have to make a decision about whether you want to provide cloud-like services to your on-premise, hosted users,” he says.

“This conversation will include object storage. Are you willing to offer that capability on-premise so people can put a steppingstone into the cloud?

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives
Nothing Ear (stick) held by a model on white background



(Image credit: Nothing )

True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick). 

So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.

What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information. 

That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab)

Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”. 

But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.” 

Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case

Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that I want Nothing’s earbuds to succeed in world dominated by AirPods; who doesn’t love a plucky, eccentric underdog? 

But in order to become some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there is room for improvement over the Nothing Ear 1, the company’s inaugural earbuds. 

Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame. 

For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog. 

As the natural companions for the Nothing Phone 1, it makes sense for the Ear (stick) to take a place similar to that of Apple’s AirPods 3, where the flagship Ear (1) sit alongside the AirPods Pro 2 as a flagship offering. 

See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre. 

For now, we sit tight until October 26. 

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers
Woman watching YouTube on mobile phone screen



(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kicking Studio)

You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.

According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.

The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.

So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community. 

A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway. 

Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.

Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis. 

Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

USB-C als Ladestandard in der EU

Mundissima / Shutterstock


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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