BITPIPE RESEARCH GUIDE:
Storage First Steps
Information types, availability, integrity, bandwidth, and sharing
are the core competency of any digital organization. However,
overseeing data storage management
in an era of high-speed hardware
obsolescence, while juggling budget, regulatory, and risk issues,
is a tall order.
Questions to Ask
Most companies have different storage needs and are starting from different
points. See the
Storage Overview for some of the typical types of systems employed. However,
there is some basic analysis that should be done before moving forward:
- What kinds of systems and hardware do we have?
- How is the quality of our data?
- What is our current bandwidth?
- Is it scalable?
- How fast is our data required?
- How long must it be retained?
- What is the value of the data we are collecting?
- Is there a way to categorize or segment the data?
- Who owns what data?
- What are the data growth trends so far?
- What could be consolidated?
- What could be automated?
- Is our data secure, and is the recovery system in compliance with
all relevant regulations?
- Does our backup system provide fully recoverable data?
Choosing a Storage System
(DAS) is the most straightforward and low-cost level of storage. It has limited
scalability, and is typically best for small companies doing
local data sharing, such as email or file serving. Data accessibility
is obviously dependent on the server being up, and not overloaded
with database or email processing, and any added servers must be
administered separately. Larger companies sometimes use DAS as well as
NAS and SAN; occasionally placing the legacy DAS on the network
using bridge devices or using it to store less critical data.
Companies with higher scalability requirements will find a better return on
investment with a storage virtualization
system such as Network Attached
Storage (NAS) or a Storage
Area Network (SAN) than with a DAS. Storage
consolidation may be easier as multiple NAS systems can be centrally
managed, and can serve files across all operating platforms.
Wireless NAS could be in the future. NAS systems are also often
included in a SAN.
While one of the most reliable systems for high volume, critical
enterprise applications such as database, imaging, or transaction processing,
management software can be complex, and has some nagging
Some IP SANs use Internet
Protocol (IP) over Gigabit Ethernet,
instead of Fibre Channel,
which can decrease cost and suffer fewer interoperability
challenges due to standardization issues.
Many companies consolidate block-level and file-level data with combination
SAN/NAS systems. It all comes down to the processing and availability
requirements of your data.
For more information on choosing the right solution for your company,
read our Storage Overview.
Go to Bitpipe Research Guide: Storage.