Selecting a storage solution: What’s best for my company?

Currently, there are more than a few options for companies when it comes to data storage, each with its own benefits.Today, we'll take a look at a few of these systems as well as some top considerations to make when migrating data to a new environment.

Right now, data has become more valuable than ever in the enterprise community. Businesses are leveraging information from both internal and external sources for analysis, to uncover trends and better connect with their clients. However, this is having a considerable impact on storage needs and requirements.

Currently, there are more than a few options for companies when it comes to data storage, each with its own benefits. It is imperative that organizations understand their storage options in order to choose the one that will best address their requirements. Today, we’ll take a look at a few of these systems as well as some top considerations to make when migrating data to a new environment.

“It is imperative that organizations understand their storage options in order to choose the one that will best address their requirements.”

What are the current options?
According to Codero, there are four mainstream data storage options, including Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Object Storage.

DAS is a digital storage environment that directly attaches to a server used to access the system, and can be an internal or external component such as a hard drive or disc drive. This comes as a main alternative to remotely accessing information via the network.

NAS, which involves an external device that is physically attached to the server environment, utilizes the underlying local area network or wide area network for connectivity. These are siloed components that typically include their own operating system and management interface.

SAN is a network of storage devices that is connected to servers in order to enable block-level storage accessed via applications on the servers. SAN allows these programs to utilize more efficient, scalable storage without the need for network sharing or complex application configurations.

Object storage archives data as objects within the system, as opposed to storing information in files and directories. Codero noted that each object in this environment includes not only the data being stored, but also metadata and a unique identifier. This environment is best suited for unstructured data.

There are also cloud-based environments to choose from, which are becoming more popular among enterprises. These can be hosted and managed by a service provider, making it accessible to the organization while freeing them of the maintenance and upkeep responsibilities for the system.

Now, most enterprise data is stored in digital environments on the company's premises, or in the cloud.
Now, most enterprise data is stored in digital environments on the company’s premises, or in the cloud.

What considerations should be made?
There are a few key considerations that decision-makers should factor in when selecting a data storage solution, including:

  • The current network configuration: Some storage options, including DAS, NAS, SAN and Object Storage, require specific connections and components that may not already be present within the network. If the business is looking to implement an on-premises system, it should work with the network administrator to select one that can easily integrate into the existing infrastructure.
  • The data that will be migrated to the system: CIO contributor Jennifer Lonoff Schiff advised having a full understanding of the data the company deals with, including structured and unstructured data. It is also critically important to consider how fast data can be accessed in certain environments, how long it will need to be retained there and how secure the system will need to be for specific types of information. If possible, think about potential future data storage and usage needs as well, to make sure the storage option can grow with your business.
  • The industry requirements that must be observed: Organizations within certain industries – including government, health care, retail and others – must adhere to certain sector requirements when storing and accessing information. It is critical that these requirements are factored into the considerations when selecting a storage system to ensure the business is fully compliant.
  • The security offered by the storage environment: Not all data is equal – some information is particularly sensitive, while other content is less valuable. It’s critical that decision-makers understand their security needs, as well as the safety measures that come built-in with the storage solution, and which protections they will likely need to add in on their own.
  • The provider: If choosing a hosted or managed solution, it’s essential to fully vet the provider. Lonoff Schiff recommended making a list of the company’s needs, as well as the features and capabilities it will need from its storage solution. It’s also important to consider the provider’s support.”Choose a storage provider who has excellent technical support and also an attentive account team,” said Mike Garber, Independence Blue Cross senior director. “When problems arise within the storage network, they typically have a big impact to your organization. Your ability to resolve these problems timely will be critical to your success.”

iT1 Source has robust storage and data management systems to suit the needs of any size organization across an array of different industry sectors. To find out more about your available options, contact us today.