Data clouds pose an interesting dilemma to enterprise IT organiza-tions. On one hand, they promise to drastically reduce the cost and complexity of storing enterprise data. On the other hand, they create numerous migration challenges. When considering a data cloud implementation, enterprises currently have two primary options: they can deploy an internal data cloud or they can rely on an existing third-party, public data cloud like Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) or Rackspace Cloud. While some of the fundamental challenges like appropriate security and governance potentially exist in both deployment scenarios, a deployment in a public cloud has an additional and critical limitation - moving a large amount of data into a public cloud can take months or years because of the constraints imposed by insufficient network bandwidth. Werner Vogels, CTO,, describes this issue in his blog, “All Things Distributed.” Vogels contrasts the number of days it would take to siphon a set of data to Amazon using different network bandwidths. See Figure 1 on page 15 for a partial set of his findings.

In other words, transferring one terabyte of enterprise data to a public cloud using typical public network speeds of T1 to 10 Mbps takes between 13 and 82 days. Considering that most large enterprises have data volumes reaching several petabytes, one might conclude that utilizing a public cloud is not as practical as initially predicted.

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