The term ‘enterprise storage’ has a different application than consumer storage. The size of the storage operations and the storage technology being used differentiate an enterprise storage solution. Enterprise storage can be defined as a “centralized storage system that businesses use for managing and protecting data. It also enables data sharing through connectivity to various computers in a network environment that includes UNIX, Windows and mainframe platforms.”
If an enterprise is looking to implement a storage solution, there are 4 basic parameters that should be assessed storage, backup, archiving and DR (disaster recovery services)
Enterprise storage solutions:
Explosive data growth is the biggest challenge for enterprise storage caused by concurrent requirement for historical, integrated, and granular data. The increased number of users – including data miners, explorers, departmental users, multidimensional users, power users, and executive users needs to be taken into account by enterprises when designing a storage solution.
Storage System Types:
Storage can be classified into three basic systems: direct attached storage (DAS), storage area network (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS).
DAS is the foundation on which SAN and NAS can be further deployed. Thus, it is DAS that defines how SAN and NAS perform. Ultimately, the performance of the entire enterprise storage environment depends on DAS. The storage interface of the host computer is connected to DAS, and a data network enables other computers to access DAS. Other devices used by a DAS deployment are: SCSI, PATA, SATA, SAS, FC, Flash, and RAM.
When it comes to functionality, SANs are a step ahead than DAS. They allow multiple clients to connect to a single storage device at the block level. However, multiple clients cannot share a single volume. SAN offers a host of compatibility advantages with respect to applications. SAN technologies include iSCSI, FC, and AoE.
NAS basically comprises a file server that resides on top of SAN or DAS. NAS ensures Microsoft compatibility by using server message block (SMB) and network file system (NFS) for UNIX compatibility. With NAS, multiple clients can share a single storage volume as most applications run with a block-level storage device. But application compatibility is a problem with NAS.
The ideal enterprise storage:
Besides data storage, enterprise data storage needs to cater to protection against network security threats, backup plans, disaster recovery setup, and also compliance with legislations on the process of storing, managing, and archiving data.
Your organizations long term business goals and specific requirements will determine the choice of a data storage solution:
– The amount and type of data Performance as measured by I/O and throughput requirements
– Availability of reliable data for mission-critical applications
– Backup & Recovery
Enterprise storage comprises a combination of storage systems like DAS, NAS, and SAN. For a few servers, DAS can be used for local file sharing and storage. Management becomes easier as DAS can be managed through the network OS of the host server. You can start small with less investment and add to the capacity when required. It also interoperates with a NAS system should you wish to migrate at a later date. You can still use legacy DAS for non critical data.
A NAS includes both hard disks and management software. It can be deployed when your storage requirement exceed server-based infrastructure. NAS is used only for file-sharing; this means that the server can be used for application sharing. This division enables faster data access for multiple clients on the network. You can combine DAS and NAS for improved performance. In a NAS/SAN convergence, NAS offers reliability with RAID and data replication and data mirroring.
SANs are best for your mission-critical applications with dedicated and high performance network for data transfer between servers and storage devices. SANs are independent of LAN and the data is sent through a fiber channel which is capable of high volume data transfer. Instant communication between workstations and mainframes is possible especially for database, image and transaction processing. Dynamic load balancing enables fast data transfer, and reduced latency. SANs ensure 24×7 data availability.
The enterprise cloud storage:
The emergence cloud computing has made available a high performance storage solution that combines scalability, security, cost effectiveness and peak performance with ease of use. Enterprises can deploy a private cloud service with the data residing on a high configuration SAN server and accessible through virtual machines connected to each other for 100% availability.
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