Are You Storing Data The Smart Way?

closet.jpgI knew this would give you pause. I bet you, like I, didn’t even know there was a smart or not-so-smart way for data storage. Did you?

While hosted applications and online storage solutions from starts and companies that have been around for a long time are flourishing, there’s still many businesses, that have considerable needs for storage solutions. Those businesses who host their email local need have explosive storage needs. Other storage needs include traditional file sharing (think of all the video, documents and PDFs that a growing company creates), database servers, document imaging and other things that a growing business needs to store.
If you’re just storing data like you would a traditional storage closet at home – throwing thing things into the closet with no plan of HOW they are being stored you’ll find that you are wasting space, paying more for things than you need and and over time making it difficult for your end users to find the information they need.
HP has been a long time leader in this space and sees some trends occurring in the storage space. These are some trends you should really consider if storage is or is going to be important to you in the coming months and years.

I would highly encourage you to check out HP’s storage web site which has a number of products and documentation on smart storage solutions.
One of the trends HP is seeing is in ensuring that data is NOT duplicated across the network and you can read more about that here.
HP’s web site reads that – Data deduplication is a method for eliminating redundant data from storage, especially from backups. It works by saving a single copy of identical data, replacing any further instances with pointers back to that one copy.
Here’s a simple example: Say 500 people receive a company-wide e-mail with a 1 megabyte attachment. If each recipient saves that attachment locally, it is replicated 500 times on desktops around the network. During backup, a system without data deduplication would then store the data in that one attachment 500 times—consuming 499 MB more backup space than necessary.
Data deduplication backs up just one instance of the attachment’s data and replaces the other 499 instances with pointers back to that copy.
Other trends include:

  • Complete Infrastructure Solutions: A clear shift in midsized companies’ purchasing decisions from buying just pieces of hardware to complete and intelligent solution packages that are easy to manage and provide real bottom line value.
  • Storage Virtualization: The need for high-availability will increase as more network storage is utilized in virtualized environments, and as businesses accelerate growth by lowering IT operating costs. A unified infrastructure will be the future as servers, storage, applications and services are consolidated.
  • Green IT: Midsized companies are looking to reduce energy cost while increasing performance. As servers become more energy efficient the next big consumer of energy in the data center will come from storage. “Green” storage solutions will be top of mind for IT managers in order to reduce data centers carbon footprint, cooling and floor space. Better measurement of storage devices, the ability to throttle down and/or shut off inactive drives to save power, and product recycling programs will be key issues to consider in 2008.
  • iSCSI: Technologies such as iSCSI are lowering the entry cost for network storage and allowing businesses to deploy solutions that fit their current infrastructure, but also allow for future growth and flexibility. iSCSI-based appliance models will continue to grow as a low cost alternative to Fibre-channel based SANs. With the midmarket becoming a hot market for the storage industry, easy-to-use, implement and manage solutions will be the key purchasing factors considered.

I would HIGHLY suggest you sit down (or stand if you want to) with your local technology consultant. If he is not a specialist in storage it’s best you have a specialist in the discussion as well. Storage is a science and an art in a way and it takes someone with experience to help guide you in the best storage solution(s) for YOUR business.