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The Four Cs that Define Your Cloud Architecture

There’s little doubt that the public cloud is completely transforming the way businesses, large and small, work. Analysts project that 83% of all enterprise workloads will be run in the cloud by the end of this year and that cloud spend will grow by more than 12% annually, reaching $331.2B by 2022.

As cloud adoption becomes the rule rather than the exception, enterprises must decide how much of their infrastructure and which applications they should move to the cloud—and which of the five clouds used by over 80% of enterprises should house them. But IT leaders are increasingly beginning to realize that running some applications in a public cloud can cost more than doing so on premises. As a result, they reconsider their all-cloud strategy in favor of a hybrid model.

Like almost all tech decisions, defining cloud architecture shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, every enterprise should take great care to thoroughly and strategically evaluate its unique needs, available financial and human resources, and the demands of its customers to determine the best infrastructure fit now and in the future.

Cost, Convenience, Choice, Control

Enterprises reevaluating their cloud strategy have a lot to examine. Generally, such considerations can be grouped into four categories—the 4 Cs of cloud architecture:

Cost: CapEx vs. OpEx

Cost is one of the biggest business drivers, regardless of what’s being decided. While public cloud is the simplest, fastest way to stand up an application while avoiding significant upfront capital investments, it’s important to remember that cloud storage costs are permanent so long as there are any data to be stored. That is, businesses pay the storage cost for data that was created six months ago as well as what’s currently being produced. This often leads to paying for storage that has no present business value.

Convenience: Easy access to storage and compute

As we often say at Seagate Technology, data is potential. Data enables innovations. The ability to put that data to work and unlock its value when and how a business wants is the ultimate form of convenience. Cloud makes it easy for enterprises to quickly come up with a concept for a product or a service, setup a prototype and test it with hundreds or thousands of people. That level of flexibility and easy access to the storage and compute needed to build on new ideas is a major consideration for whether to run a workload or app in the cloud.

Choice: Single cloud, multicloud, and on-prem storage

In addition to cost and convenience, choice of where and how to run critical workloads and apps is fundamental to a successful cloud strategy and architecture. Cloud storage costs increase as a business scales, so having the option of storing critical data in a private or public cloud, or on premises with high-capacity storage systems like object storage enables workloads that need economics at scale.

Control: Own your data and your business operations

More than anything, enterprises want control over their data and operations. Cloud’s value is often limited by business constraints, such as bandwidth demands and industry compliance for data handling. That means when a business generates huge volumes of data and transmits it to a public cloud, it could cost millions of dollars in bandwidth expenses and take days to get from Point A to Point B. An enterprise must have the ability to dictate how and where data resides—including repatriating it to on-prem storage.

Smarter, more flexible IT resource consumption

Seagate, a leader in precision-engineered data storage, offers enterprises the capacity, security and performance they need to assert more control over their data operations and optimize their cloud spend. The company’s range of modular, high-capacity data center storage systems helps enterprises around the world build the cloud/on-prem hybrid IT infrastructure that suits their unique needs.

The high-capacity, scalable building blocks make it easier and more affordable for enterprises to repatriate mission-critical data, house it in private clouds, and move massive volumes around the world faster and at a fraction of the cost of doing it over a WAN. Organizations can start with an appropriate level of storage and scale as the business demands, future-proofing their operations for exponential data growth with high density storage building blocks like Seagate’s Exos E 4U106.

Now,enterprises can tap into the public cloud’s on-demand capacity and compute through their data center’s virtual connections to handle sudden spikes in traffic or to run resource-intensive applications like machine learning and AI-powered analytics. This delivers economics and flexibility while securely storing core data sets in their private clouds with fast, 99.999% data availability for a richer and more robust data management experience.

As public cloud adoption accelerates, business and IT leaders will increasingly recognize the value of repatriating some of their data and adopting a hybrid infrastructure approach instead of an all-cloud strategy. Arriving at that conclusion will require an honest, thorough review of the business’s operations, resources and future needs. The four Cs of cloud architecture provide the framework for that evaluation and guidance for strategic decision-making as enterprises navigate a rapidly changing business and technology landscape.

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Rags Srinivasan | Senior Director of Marketing, Seagate Technology
Rags is Senior Director of Marketing at Seagate Technology.