How AWS EFS and Microsoft Azure Files are the cloud’s game changers

Cloud service providers are the new jewelry traders in the business world. With the demand for cloud services expected to reach $52 billion in 2019, the growth of cloud services providers can only be expected to escalate.

Cloud service providers, after all, provide exceptional business opportunities for small businesses. Cloud platforms such as  Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure allow businesses the leverage of increased data accessibility, storage, and flexibility to achieve substantial cost efficiencies and competitive advantages.

With AWS achieving nearly 17% operating profit margin in its first quarter, it is evident that cloud-based web applications are the new oil for businesses. With the growing importance of developments such as ‘Big Data’ on the rise, it is only a matter of time until the majority of organizations demand greater functionalities and storage capacities to process and store large data sets.

Hosted cloud-based file systems are a new development in cloud services. AWS’ soon-to-be launched ‘Elastic File Transfer’(EFS) file storage service is expected to be a game changer. Microsoft’s Azure’s preview launch of its Azure File Service last year is also another.

These cloud-based file storage service systems are designed to meet the growing needs for Big Data applications and other needs.

Importance & benefits of cloud-based file systems

There are many reasons as to why cloud-based file systems are beneficial for businesses.

Cost-effective file sharing systems

A notable advantage contributing to the explosive rise in demand for cloud computing services in general, is the cost advantage. With cloud-based file sharing systems, this is still a major benefit for companies. The EFS system of AWS allows companies to configure its files with great speed at no setup cost or fees. Companies only pay for storage that is utilized and which grows and shrinks according to the files added or removed.

This is equally important for Big Data applications that involve managing data sets in petabytes and exabytes. Companies that have to store raw data of such significant size can easily store and share data using cloud-based file systems.

Companies can work without file servers or VPNs

Another added advantage of using cloud for data sharing and storage is the fact that companies can work without using their VPNs or file servers. In addition to the benefit of workers being able to access data remotely, this eliminates the costly setup and maintenance costs for keeping their company file servers operational. This also makes it easier to expand their operations to multiple cities or even countries as all file sharing and storage can now be done online via the cloud; on-premises file servers no longer need to be set up and maintained.

Better security than traditional options

Cloud-based file sharing systems can provide better security as only those with authorization can gain access to a company’s files and data. AWS’ EFS for instance, allows businesses to configure authorization access controls via the Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Through this, a host of access permission can be written and executed and confidential files and data can be protected according to the highest security standards.

Security at the administration level is provided via the AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) module and also at the file and directory level, ensuring better data security and protection against malicious software.

EFS vs. Azure File Service

The Azure File Service launched last year is already capable of leveraging scalable data to companies along with durability and efficiency. Although the EFS is expected to be released this summer, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to Amazon’s offering and how the escalating competitions shapes the cloud services landscape.

What’s This Docker All About?  

Back in 1998, a small company called VMware was the first to successfully virtualize the x86 infrastructure, and in 2004 it became a part of EMC. Today, virtualization is as commonplace as The Phoenix Project books on the bookshelves of IT workers. Many organizations and service providers rely on virtualized environment to run their workloads, and VMware’s technology saved their customers’ huge sums of money they would to otherwise use to buy additional hardware. In the last 16 years, technology has come a long way, bringing with it new requirements to deploy applications quickly, across any device, platform, or cloud infrastructure.

Enter Docker. Founded in 2013 as a side project at dotCloud, Docker allows developers to “containerize” their applications, and run processes in isolation. That means that the app no longer needs to rely on an operating system or disk &etc. Docker still runs on a Linux kernel, however, everything else is completely isolated and independent of the operating system. Docker now works across many public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Rackspace and others.

What does this all mean to all of us? Well, for one thing, it will make applications even more portable, developers and DevOps engineers will be able to quickly and easily move applications from public to private clouds, from on-premise to someone’s laptop. Second, it will be easier to engineer fast application deployment. Thirdly, it will allow even more resource optimization, taking the next step of VMware started 16 years ago.

Are we living in an app-driven world? Absolutely. And Docker, valued at around $400m, is living proof.

Back to the Cloud

The rumor mills are on fire with possibility that Windows is relaunching its cloud services as an infrastructure-as-a-service plan. Okay, there isn’t that much buzz and probably very few people care. However, it is interesting news. The rumor boils down that Windows might offer Windows and Linux machine resources to be rented by the hour.

This move makes sense. Microsoft and Google are about the only companies that can go toe-to-toe with Amazon Web Services. They have the talent and the ability to create economies of scale. That one of the reasons why Amazon has gone relatively unchallenged in the cloud hosting arena. Competitors like Rackspace and Openstack just can’t slash prices like Amazon can. Some estimates place Amazon at nearly fifty percent of the market right now in cloud services. It’s commanding, but the mighty do fall.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re looking for cloud hosting services then you’ll have more choices. Infrastructure as a service allows you to get more computer power when you need it. If the rumors are to be believed (a recent tweet by Microsoft seems to confirm it) than you can pay for it by the hour. We’ll just have to wait until June 7th.