How to Select the Right Storage Platform

By: techwriter

As companies grow and the terabytes of information that they need to store and manage rises continuously, it becomes important for them to pay close attention to the selection and deployment of storage systems. The storage solution has to be in synchronization with the company's objectives, growth plans, and very importantly be scalable. Data recovery capabilities so that business continuity is maintained are an important contributor to TCO.

Company attitude towards data storage designing and implementation has a huge bearing on its future impact on the company TCO. Often taking the services of an experienced consulting firm helps in evaluating products for developing an enterprise storage network. A company desirous of designing and implementing storage requirements on its own needs to have expertise in storage and networking; something not often found with SMBs and even several enterprises.

Factors to consider while assessing storage include

1.The nature of applications that access the storage.

2.Number of servers and types of operating systems.

3.Present disk utilization and scalability predictions.

4.Extent of centralization of data and state of backup procedures.

5.Maintaining business continuity by separating OLTP (on-line transaction processing) data from mission-critical data.

Storage requirements decide storage technology. Network Attached Storage (NAS) is preferred in a set-up where the applications are not mission critical. NAS allows the use of FTP, http, and other networking protocols; it is platform-independent and a better option than a server for improving network performance. NAS works best as a storage consolidator on a LAN.

Dedicated networks for data storage such as SANs are ideal for back-end storage in an enterprise environment. SAN is not a part of the LAN and thus helps ease traffic on the LAN. SAN enables remote storage up to 10 km and reduces latency. However, the differences between SAN and NAS are becoming less by the day and soon companies may choose to backup NAS devices to the SAN. In fact, enterprises with varying bandwidth requirements are best placed to make use of an Enterprise Storage Network (ESN) that is made up of a combination of NAS and SAN. NAS can be used for non mission-critical requirements such as emails and storing internal user information. NAS is not meant to take heavy networking loads and moreover this would affect the LAN and overall networking.

Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective are two other important parameters that need to be taken into consideration when deciding storage platforms for enterprise storage.

These are features that need to be spelt out clearly in the Service Level Agreements so that the type of data to be restored first in the case of a disaster is known beforehand. Trying to recover all data at once is the surest way to clog the widest data pipes.

The ROI is decided by considering Information Lifecycle Management and the cost of managing distributed data.

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