Competing with Internal IT

Brad Stropes

Throughout the year we constantly hear about this new concept of “Shadow IT.”  This new term describes the ability of individual developers and employees to obtain storage for company’s data unbeknownst to the company. This is typically done by individual employees carving out space in dropbox or from a cloud provider, to help with development cycles or file sharing systems amongst their team.  However, this has an incredibly negative impact on the organization as a whole.

With individual employees accessing and storing their company’s data without going through the proper channels, they can significantly increase costs, create data silos and put the organization as a whole at risk to security attacks. However, it benefits the individuals by allowing them to quickly spin up an environment which fits their needs in minutes and could take infrastructure team days to accomplish.  So, what’s the solution?

Though I try not to focus on individual products through my blogs, at this time there are really two specific products which solve this issue very well. They allow for companies to develop an internal cloud, formulate an easy deployment strategy and keep costs low. The two products which focus solely on this space is a product called Cloudian and a product called Solidfire by NetApp. These two products are very similar in the way they work, but are utilized for different applications.

First, Solidfire was an interesting purchase by NetApp last year and many don’t understand its purpose.  With NetApp already having an all flash storage, why did they want to leverage the Solidfire technology?  The reason was scale.

Solidfire is the best solution I have come across to solve the cloud block storage needs within an organization. The reason that is such a great solution is its ability to scale and the design of its technology pools. The array presents itself to the individual employees just like a public cloud. The interface will direct the employees to select the IOPS needed, along with the compute power and the total storage.  From here individual employees can spin up theri own environment in minutes, while keeping the data secure and in compliance with the IT staff.  In addition, they do not get charged with read, writes, or grabs from the cloud provider. This is similar to the Cloudian solution.

Cloudian, is an object storage platform which presents itself in a very similar manner to Solidfire.  However, it is used in an object format rather than a block storage format.  It operates at much lower costs than the cloud and doesn’t charge for grabs.  It also is S3 enabled, so applications which were made for the cloud can now run much faster and less expensive than the public cloud.

If you would like more information on how to create your very own internal cloud, please contact me at
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