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The Evolution of Cloud Data Management

We have contended for some time that many organizations will migrate to a hybrid of on-premises and cloud infrastructure for many of their key systems, such as email, archiving, security, etc. While migrating completely to the cloud for things like archiving is quite feasible and the right decision for many companies, some decision makers want to maintain their data behind the corporate firewall. Reasons might include a fundamental mistrust of leaving sensitive corporate data in the hands of a third-party cloud provider, or it might be as simple as not wanting to invest in higher bandwidth pipes to move large amounts of data to and from the cloud.

As an example of this, Sherpa Software has recently introduced Attender Online. Attender Online is a cloud-based data management system that allows an organization to manage their Electronically Stored Information (ESI) via a cloud interface while leaving it in place on-premise. Attender Online is designed to meet a number of requirements, including storage management for both network file shares and desktop hard drives; ESI management on desktop computers, Exchange servers and file servers; and email content management in Exchange environments.

Attender Online allows management of on-premises content completely from a Web browser and permits administrators to create a customized, Windows 8-like interface to manage various content sources. The system maintains logs of policy behavior so that a complete audit trail is maintained.  Attender Online integrates with Active Directory and allows management of ESI content sources by associating them with individual computers or individuals within the organization. A key capability of the system is that allows organizations to actively delete content that is no longer required, supporting defensible deletion policies - a critical issue for many organizations.

Although Attender Online is a useful solution and combines the ease of cloud management with on-premises data management, it is not without its limitations. It manages email only in Microsoft Exchange environments and .pst files, and it works only with Windows desktops. The latter is perhaps the more important limitation for many organizations given the large number of them that have mixed Windows and Mac desktops and laptops.

Even with some limitations, Attender Online is a useful capability that decision makers should seriously investigate.

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