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Taneja Blog / Cloud / Primary Storage

Cloud Block Storage Increasing in Adoption as More Business Workloads Move to the Cloud

By Jeff Kato, Senior Analyst & Consultant

As we enter 2019, companies’ use of storage in the public cloud is no longer restricted to object and file-based workloads. Object storage has clearly been the preferred approach for global content distribution and archiving in the cloud, and now file storage is available in the cloud to enhance file sync-and-share, collaboration and other office/productivity applications. But as we learned in a recent Taneja Group research study, firms are now increasing their use of cloud block storage services as well.

More than two-thirds of the 274 corporate respondents to our survey are using one or more block storage services in the cloud, up significantly from when we last queried on this in 2015. Azure Disks (HDD/SSD) and Amazon EBS are the two most popular services, with 38% citing usage of each of them. As shown in Figure 1, companies are using block storage services to support relational database and other business apps, in addition to secondary workloads such as backup, analytics and archiving. Dev/test is also gaining in popularity as companies move business apps to the cloud or run them in a hybrid fashion.

Roughly one-quarter of the population is running between 5 and 20 TB of block storage in one or more clouds, but there are some much larger users as well: more than 25% of respondents are using 21-100 TB, and 18% report using more than 100 TB of cloud block storage. This reflects some serious usage of database and business apps in one or more public clouds today.

What types of challenges are companies encountering in their use of block storage services in the cloud? As the results in Figure 2 illustrate, high data egress charges are the most vexing issue, as some customers find that they are penalized when migrating data to other clouds or back on-premises. But confusing billing is also near the top of the list, as customers try to track and manage their monthly storage service costs. We find it interesting that these two business related issues far outweigh any technical challenges, with performance the only non-business challenge that is cited by more than 20% of the survey population. And encouragingly, just over 20% of respondents reported having no challenges at all in their use of cloud block storage, reflecting the growing maturity of both user adoption and of the cloud providers’ services.

Even with these challenges, nearly 60% of users are mostly to highly satisfied with their cloud block storage experience, with another one-third feeling somewhat satisfied. Based on these satisfaction levels and commonly cited cloud deployment benefits such as increased agility and pay-as-you-grow services, we expect the usage of cloud block storage services to continue to grow.

If your company is preparing to move or already re-deploying business apps to the cloud, then you, too, are or will soon become a cloud block storage customer. We hope you can quickly overcome the types of challenges confronted by our research participants and enjoy a positive customer experience.


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