With the different types of data storage and data storage methods, IT professionals evaluating enterprise data storage technologies have their hands full. The only thing for certain is your data storage needs are growing at an alarming rate and your current storage solutions won’t be able to handle the demand for long.
Most organizations are seeing data growth of 10-24% per year. More alarming, 51% manage between 1 and 99 Terabytes of data and 9% manage more than 1 Petabyte of data storage. These companies are looking into new data storage methods to manage their rapid growth. More than half (57%) plan to increase data storage spending in the next year.
If you are in this majority, you’re probably asking “what are the best enterprise storage solutions?”
There are a number of types of data storage, including Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Network (SAN) and cloud storage. In the past few years, flash storage technology and all-flash arrays have grown in use for their flexibility and scalability.
To help you evaluate the different enterprise data storage technologies, here are the pros and cons of each of these data storage solutions:
DAS solutions are digital storage that is directly attached to servers, computers, and other devices rather than part of a storage network. This gives storage the highest bandwidth and access speeds for data storage solutions. It is also the cheapest option. DAS solutions are best suited for enterprise companies with constant data storage requirements as the cost benefits can disappear with rapidly increasing storage requirements.
The nature of DAS also silos data which can provide security benefits but also makes it more difficult to share data and free storage space with other servers. Upgrading is also more involved with a DAS system as it requires a system-wide backup.
HPE Server solutions are a good example of a DAS. HPE ProLiant Servers are rack-optimized, software-defined servers which offer diverse workloads which can be controlled through a single infrastructure management solution.
SAN is a specialized, high-speed network that provides access to shared storage resources and servers. The centralized data storage method improves data security, fault tolerance, and maintenance. With servers all sharing the same pool of storage resources, storage capacity can be easily expanded, offering much faster and cheaper expansions. SAN also mitigates some of the access issues found in NAS by eliminating bandwidth bottlenecks through multiple data paths and improving performance with segregated networks.
HPE Nimble storage all-flash arrays is one example of SAN which combines their flash-efficient array with HPE InfoSight’s predictive analytics for an extremely fast, reliable and simple system. HPE InfoSight Analytics provides their storage solutions with AI-powered predictive analytics to maintain application performance and availability, lower IT OpEx, and ensure a significant reduction in issues causing application downtime.
The main downside of SAN is the initial deployment cost. While upfront costs are high, the improved scalability and the ability to share resources reduces waste, which ultimately results in lower data storage costs in the long term.
The use of cloud storage is rising rapidly, with most businesses relying on some form of cloud storage in addition to their local storage solutions. Cloud storage services are also a strong option to provide an offsite backup in case your local storage completely fails.
The main benefits of the cloud are scalability and cost. When your data is stored by a third party, it is much easier and faster to pay for only the storage you need and scale up your storage capacity as your needs increase. However, as you scale up, the cost benefits of cloud storage are greatly reduced and solutions such as NAS become the more economical option.
One of the biggest concerns regarding cloud storage is security. However, working with the right cloud storage provider mitigates the majority of these concerns. The main issue with cloud storage is performance. Your transfer speeds may be limited by the bandwidth of your internet connection.
NAS offers a good mix of the benefits of a traditional cloud storage solution and a local hard drive. This storage type is a file-level data storage server offering data access to the network through a dedicated appliance that manages storage and access. Since NAS operates at the file level, systems are able to connect through file-based protocols. This also means connected devices aren’t limited by their own storage capacity. NAS is a good choice for enterprises looking to take advantage of big data and IoT.
One of the main downsides of NAS is that because data is accessed over the network, performance is dependent on network speed and congestion. The network must be load tested to ensure it doesn’t significantly slow down during peak use times.
While there are a number of options for data storage systems, they are not mutually exclusive. Most enterprises could benefit from a hybrid storage network that leverages several different storage methods. For example, HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage includes both NAS and SAN storage. HPE’s solution offers all-flash storage, powered by Intel Xeon processors, with data center-ready capabilities that offer a host of additional benefits. Their solution’s persistent cache, ports, and checksum creates a resilient and reliable system that protects against controller failure and silent data corruption and allows for non-disruptive software upgrades.
This is one example of how an enterprise data storage technology could combine multiple storage methods. If you’re looking for more guidance into the different data storage methods, NWN is here to help! Please reach out with any data storage questions you might have.