The value of tight integration with ISV's is that you can archive and fill in the keywords at the moment of archive. Check a box, fill in the keywords and click archive. This is when the keyword information is probably going to be the most accurate because it is fresh in the mind of the person doing the archive. In fact the application itself may be able to supply the key word data. Recall, when needed, could then be done right through the application or via a stand alone interface that the cloud storage provider has. The value of the later being that the search should work across all applications that were archiving to the provider.
To ease adoption many suppliers have added a NAS Gateway or have used standard internet friendly protocols like WEBDAV or REST to allow access to the cloud based storage. Indexing of the NAS gateway approach should allow for indexing solutions from Index Engines or Kazeon's (now EMC) and others to index this as if it were a normal file system. Testing of this type of solution should be done first to understand what the ramifications might be.
Indexing cloud storage should be an early consideration as you start to select a cloud storage platform. Successfully finding the needle in the haystack requires proper planning upfront. Waiting until you have a few TBs of information first is going to be problematic.
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George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.