The latest innovations in storage technology allow organizations to maximize their investment by getting the most out of their storage systems. The desired outcome of optimally managed data storage is that it helps businesses grow and become more agile. However, despite advances in storage technology, organizations are still experiencing significant network issues and downtime.
The problem lies in the fact that users do not understand how to properly deploy and use the technology. If used correctly, today’s new storage technologies can help an organization grow. But first, IT admins need to know their storage environment inside and out, including understanding things like NAS, SAN, data deduplication, capacity planning, and more.
In my previous blog, I talked about hyper-convergence, open source storage, and software-defined storage. Today, I will discuss a few more storage technologies.
Cloud storage is essentially data that is stored in the Cloud. This kind of architecture is most useful for organizations that need to access their data from different geographic locations. When data is in the Cloud, the burden of data backup, archival, DR, etc. becomes outsourced. Cloud storage vendors promise data security, speedy deployment, and reliability among other things. They also claim that organizations don’t have to worry about overall storage, which includes purchasing, installing, managing, upgrading, and replacing storage hardware. In addition, with Cloud storage users can access files from anywhere there is Internet connectivity.
The IOPS of the spinning hard disk has not evolved much over the years. However, with the introduction of solid state storage (also known as flash storage) the increase in performance has been exponential. Flash storage is often the best solution for organizations running high IOPS applications. This is because it can reduce the latency for those applications, resulting in better performance. Flash storage offers other benefits, such as it consumes less power than other storage options, takes up less space in the data center, and allows more users to access storage simultaneously. Because flash storage tends to be a more expensive option, organizations still use hard disk drives (HDD) for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, and reserve flash storage for Tier 0 (high performance) environments.
Storage admins are quite familiar with file storage (FS) and how data is accessed from NAS using NFS, CIFS, etc. But object storage is entirely different. It works best with huge amounts of unstructured data that needs to be organized. With object storage, there is no concept of a file system; the input and output happens via application program interface (API), which allows for the handling of large quantities of data. Object storage uses metadata, which is used by FS to locate the file. In cases where you need to frequently access certain data, it's better to go with file storage over object storage. Most people won’t wait several minutes for a Word doc to open, but are likely more patient when pulling a report that involves huge amounts of data.
As you can see, there’s a vast market for storage technology. Before choosing one of the many options, you should ask yourself “is this solution right for my storage environment?” You should also consider the following when choosing a storage technology solution:
- Will it improve my data security?
- Will it minimize the time it currently takes to access my data?
- Will it provide options to handle complex data growth?
- Will there be a positive return on my investment?
Hopefully this information will help you select the best storage platform for your needs. Let us know what technology you use, or what you look for in storage technology.