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The Pros and Cons of Today’s Storage Technologies

Level 10

There is a veritable food court of storage technologies on the market. How do you go about finding the solution that’s a good fit for your organization? In my earlier blogs I talked about hyper-convergence, open source storage, software-defined storage Cloud storage, flash storage, and object storage. To make the process of understanding storage technologies a bit easier, I’ve listed the major technologies and included the pros and cons of each. 

Storage TechnologyProsCons
Software-defined storage
  • Automate and manage data from a centralized location.
  • Build your own storage infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about integrating different vendor products.
  • Flexible scaling allows you to add new features with just software updates.
  • Independent software and hardware means more components to manage.
  • Must ensure that the infrastructure matches the difference in latency and performance across your storage arrays.
Integrated computing platform (ICP), or hyper-convergence
  • Simplifies storage, computing, and network management.
  • Computer, storage, and network comes as a complete package.
  • Good package for a moderate IT budget.
  • Making granular upgrades or minor tweaks is challenging. For example, if the cluster gets low on storage, but the computer is performing well, a storage upgrade alone is not possible.
  • Must upgrade overall capability by adding another appliance when the cluster runs low on storage, even if the rest of the system is operating well.
Open source storage
  • Save money on purchase and maintenance.  
  • No compliance issues.
  • Code modification is based on your organization’s needs.
  • Hidden costs are involved, especially the cost of hiring a trained admin who knows how to operate the system, or training a current admin to do so.  
  • Must be compatible with other platforms in your organization.
  • No technical guidance or customer support. You are on your own if something fails.
Cloud storage
  • Minimal initial investment. 
  • Makes data available for users everywhere. Some availability outside the company VPN.
  • Multiple disaster recovery options keep data safe. 
  • You are charged according to the amount of storage you use. This can be expensive, but beneficial at times for some organizations because they don’t have to pay ahead. 
  • The security of your data depends on your 3rd parties.
  • Because the bulk of your data has to be transferred via the Internet, you will pay more for the bandwidth you use.
Flash storage
  • Able to continually increase capacity.
  • No moving parts (i.e. spinning disks) to create opportunities for storage mishandling.
  • More expensive than hard drives at a dollar per GB level.
  • Performance across vendors and models can vary significantly, even for the same capacity and endurance rating.
Object storage
  • Best solution for backup and recovery options.
  • Good scalability and distributed access.
  • Data is unstructured.
  • Not suited for organizations that deal with a lot of transaction data (i.e. data that frequently changes). 

Thanks for putting this into a tabular view...easier to figure out the differences.

Level 14

Great reference... Thanks for doing this!!!

Have saved for future reference.....

Level 21

praveenmanohar‌, this is a great overview!  Where does something like a more classic EMC or NetApp fit into this?

About the Author
I have been working at Atmosera 15 years starting as a NOC Tech and working up to being a Systems Engineer and the InfoSec Team Lead. At Atmosera we provide hybrid-cloud and datacenter services to companies of all sizes around the world so my days are never dull. My primary responsibility is building out and managing our monitoring, management and security infrastructure that supports thousands of systems (and clients) including Linux, Windows, Storage, Network and Facilities systems; this management infrastructure is built largely on SolarWinds technology. I also work with our InfoSec team providing coaching and guidance in their daily activities. When not at work I am typically spending time with my wife and daughter, playing video games with my friends or poking around in Thwack. If you are curious how I ended up in this industry you can check out my Geek Memories video I did with SolarWinds.