Enterprise storage is a category of products and services designed to help large organizations to save and retrieve digital information. The difference between these and consumer or small business storage devices is that enterprise storage can handle large amounts of data and serve many users. It comprises of central storage vaults such as network-attached storage or storage area networks facilities.
Enterprise storage can be subdivided into several categories. The primary storage keeps data that the end-users often access. But, backup storage holds copies of the information in the main storage for use in situations of disaster recovery or for other purposes where copies are necessary. It can also keep archived, outdated information for the sake of compliance.
Types of Enterprise Storage
Organizations can choose to deploy on-premises storage or external cloud-based services. The advantage of using on-premises storage is that they keep full control of the data and hardware, thus greater security and compliance. Whereas, use of cloud-based enterprise storage makes storage management simpler, and in some cases it reduces the costs involved.
Benefits of Enterprise Storage
Enterprise Storage systems have several advantages:
- They enable file sharing and collaboration
- They offer greater security of information because they use user-based permissions that may not be found in consumer storage systems.
- They provide better performance, availability, scalability and reliability than other storage systems
Implementing Enterprise Storage
When deciding to deploy an enterprise storage system, you have several choices. Thus, decide between designing and building your storage, or using a cloud-based system. If you choose cloud computing, you will not have to think about the hardware or network architecture because the storage vendor will handle this for you. The steps thus will involve selecting a suitable service provider, signing a contract, and configuring the storage systems to work with your systems. What you will need to do is a thorough research to find a suitable service provider depending on your systems architecture.
Deployment of on-Premise Storage
To deploy an on-premise system, you need to set-up your hardware, configure the devices, test the system, and migrate your data. The following considerations thus need to be met.
- Select the storage media
To build your system for storage, you need to choose a storage medium. These include hard disk drives (HDD), solid state drives (SDD), tapes, all-flash storage or solid state hybrid drives (SSHD).
Tapes are the least expensive of these storage devices, but their low performance and capabilities limit them to backups and archiving only.
HDDs offer higher performance for primary storage, but they are more expensive than tapes. They have been in use for long and are known to provide reliable storage.
SSDs are more expensive than tapes and hard disks, but they offer greater speed, durability, and reliability because they use semi-conductor chips, unlike magnetic media with moving parts used in HDDs and tapes.
All-flash storage is SSD with flash memory. It is suitable for enterprises that need higher processing power than capacity.
SSHDs incorporate the HDDs and flash SDDs so that they combine high capacity of the HDDs and high speed of the SSDs. Active data is stored on SSD while data that is used less often or that is ready to be archived is stored on the HDD.
- Select storage architecture
Enterprise storage includes direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS) devices or storage area networks (SANs). DAS devices are connected directly to a personal computer (PC) or server, and they don’t offer collaboration as networked storage. But you can get collaboration from NAS and SANs devices.
- Select your network protocol
You also need to make a choice for the network protocol. There are several protocols to choose from:
- Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP)
- Fiber Channel Protocol (FCP)
- Internet SCSI Protocol (iSCSI)
The type of storage architecture you choose will determine the type of protocol you want.
Data storage is a vital aspect of every organization, and choosing the correct enterprise storage not only affects the flow of data and information. Work with your IT professional to ensure that your company is ready to take advantage of the latest enterprise storage technologies.