Federal Agencies Capitalize on Cloud Storage
As mentioned in my previous post, the Federal government has been rapidly expanding its adoption of the commercial cloud—particularly Amazon Web Services—during the past two years. At Afresco, we are finding that many of these new cloud customers are now looking at pairing our content management software with Amazon’s Cloud Object Storage, which is called Simple Storage Service (or “S3”), and their longer term storage option, Glacier. Leveraging pre-built connectors that are part of Alfresco’s latest release, organizations can reduce their costs of storing content management by up to 70% by moving content to both S3 and Glacier.
To explain how this is working, it will be helpful to define some terms:
- Enterprise Content: an organization’s files and information—much of it unstructured—that includes documents such as annual reports, research reports, business plans, emails, standard forms, pictures, videos, etc.
- Object Storage: is an approach to addressing and manipulating information storage as discrete units, called objects. Objects are kept inside a single repository and are not nested as files in a folder within other folders. Note: object storage is different from block storage, which breaks files into individual blocks of data and then stores the blocks as separate pieces. There are tradeoffs to the different approaches, but object storage (e.g. S3) has emerged as a key component for many enterprise storage environments due to its cost efficiencies, associated metadata, and availability across multiple geographic regions.
- Connector: A connector is a piece of pre-written code that uses the APIs from two different software solutions—and lays a bridge between the two of them so they can natively interact. Alfresco’s latest release provides further support for Amazon’s object storage services with our Glacier connector. Moving content and files to S3 and Glacier’s inexpensive, and almost unlimited, cloud object storage can produce up to 70% savings  compared to traditional, on-premises storage approaches.
For most organizations, like for most individuals, the amount of content it has to contend with and organize is overwhelming and expensive. Personally, over the last 2-3 years I have found that it’s become impossible to keep up with my own content—like email or the thousands of pictures and videos I take of my kids playing sports. I have content banging on digital doors and seeping through electronic windows that I didn’t even know existed.
But even though the content firehose won’t shut off, I am no longer running out of memory on my laptop because I’ve learned to sync my personal data to cloud storage solutions like GoogleDrive, Dropbox or Box. Interestingly, it’s all becoming cheaper and faster as a result of my new consumer cloud storage options.
In a similar fashion, Government agencies have been looking to Cloud storage for much of their content to save on storage costs. Block storage solutions (such as Amazon’s S3) is particularly well suited for this role within the enterprise, and archival cloud storage options like Glacier are a perfect fit for content that needs to be retained for compliance - historical or “just in case we may someday want it” reasons. Alfresco’s connectors for Amazon’s solutions have helped make the idea of moving content to the cloud a much easier lift, and therefore a cost saving reality.
If this topic interests you, and if you’d like to learn more about how your agency or customers can leverage the power of Alfresco on AWS, I invite you to explore information around the latest release of the Alfresco Digital Business Platform or to reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
 Figures based on AWS' Total Cost of Ownership Calculator