In March, Google announced the beta release of its cloud storage service Nearline. Promising a durable storage service for data archiving, online backup, and disaster recovery, the technology reduces per-gigabyte storage costs and is positioned to be an attractive offer for cloud-based archiving and to eliminate dependence on tape.
“We know the value of having access to all of your data on demand, so Nearline enables you to easily back up and store limitless amounts of data at a very low cost and access it at any time in a matter of seconds,” wrote Nearline program manager Avtandil Garakanidze for the Google blog.
The biggest advantage that Nearline brings is a high threshold for response latency for cold storage. Organizations can retrieve archives in 3 seconds, which is exponentially faster than the 3-5 hours that Amazon Glacier promises.
What you might be wondering is whether or when a transition to Nearline might make sense. The following considerations will help you make your decision.
Nearline introduces new customer experience capabilities
Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch points out that early customers will likely use Nearline to store photos, videos, and documents—files that make sense to archive. Over time, however, organizations may begin to use Nearline to blur a previously existing line between immediate access and cold storage.
“We wanted to create a product that made it economical to never throw anything away,” said Google director of product management Tom Kershaw in an an interview for TechCrunch. “Google is pretty good at storing things, but every organization should be able to keep its data around.”
With Nearline, end users of Nearline’s customers will be able to access their archives faster. Companies will be better-positioned to deliver data faster, customize experiences, and create new software-as-a-service offerings that optimize efficiencies.
Cost savings are in the eye of the beholder
Robert X. Cringely of Betanews points out that Google Nearline costs 40 percent of existing storage costs. As companies decide whether to make the switch, however, they’ll need to pay careful attention to potential moving expenses.
“Data transfer is more expensive than storage right now,” writes software engineer Sizheng Cheng for Quora. “Taking Amazon as an example, it’s about $0.03 per GB for S3, while data transfer ($0.09) is 3-times that. Google’s data transfer is even more expensive, almost 4-times the S3 price.”
Cheng encourages businesses to evaluate the frequency at which they’ll need to access stored data. Planning will be a necessity for both the short and long-term—driven, in part, by conversations with product teams.
There’s an ecosystem for growth, support, and customization
In Google’s own words—”changing your software platforms and processes isn’t easy.”
That’s why The Google Nearline team has built an ecosystem of integration partners that can help make the transition process earlier. Rather than rebuilding systems from the ground-up, teams can plug into the tools and technologies that they’re already using—and can help them get up and running, faster.
Google promises ‘seamless adoption.’ For most organizations, however, the transition will require critical thought, planning, and diligence. Give your team the time and space necessary to make a decision that helps your organization grow.
The bottom line is that Nearline is awesome with truly transformative technology. It’s essential that you take the time upfront, however, to understand what’s right for your long-term goals.