Data Storage

Storage solutions that meets your exact needs today and tomorrow

With 2.5 exabytes (2.5 billion GB) of data is generated per day, and total data doubling every two years, businesses storage management is becoming more challenging and critical.

Data Storage Overview

Businesses are generating, storing and analyzing more data than ever before in the world’s history. It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s current data was created in just the last two years.

Although traditional data storage costs have come down in recent years, the rise in data and the need for real-time access to that data are forcing companies to re-evaluate their data storage strategies.

We help companies get more value from their data by combining industry best practices with the industry’s leading data storage technologies.

We help companies get more value from their data by combining industry best practices with the industry’s leading data storage technologies. We work with companies to create data storage solutions that leverage your existing infrastructure investments while providing the accessibility and capabilities you need to effectively move forward.

How Data Generated

Data Storage Solutions:

Data backup and data snapshot solutions

Data backup and data snapshot solutions that deliver the right combination of recovery, security and speed

Hosted and Cloud-based storage

Hosted and Cloud-based storage services for accessible, reliable data storage solutions that scale quickly and cost-effectively

Email archiving

Email archiving solutions that use industry-leading technology (e.g., Barracuda, Symantec, etc.) to deliver intelligent search capabilities for simpler information management and government compliance

Automated backup solutions

Automated backup solutions that offer flexible recovery points for faster business recovery

Solid-state storage solutions

Solid-state storage solutions that combine reliability with speed

Traditional and direct-attached storage solutions

Traditional and direct-attached storage solutions including tape drives, RAID storage systems and more

Network-attached storage solutions

Network-attached storage solutions that provide optimal capacity, security and recovery for multi-site companies

Virtualized storage solutions

Virtualized storage solutions from EMC, NetApp and other solution partners that enable companies to quickly and cost-effectively scale out their storage

Direct and Network Attached Storage Architectures

DAS

Direct Attached Storage (DAS)

Direct Attached Storage (DAS) provides customization, flexibility and scalability within one dedicated, single-tenant array. It's a simple and powerful storage solution, ideal for applications that require an efficient, fully redundant array to maintain availability.

SAN

Storage Area Networks (SAN)

Storage Area Networks (SANs) enable low-latency, high-bandwidth connections to your data. If you're looking for a long-term, customized storage solution that you won't easily outgrow, SAN is a good option. Begin with as little as 250GB and add capacity as you need it.

NAS

Network Attached Sorage (NAS)

Network Attached Storage (NAS) can serve data quickly and reliably across a growing range of workloads. It’s a smart storage investment if you need a long-term, customized solution that you won't easily outgrow. You can choose from a variety of platforms based upon your requirements for performance, advanced protocols, built-in features and capacity.

Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI

The two dominant communication technologies-protocols for storage networks - Fibre Channel and Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) - have both been widely used in SANs and competed with each other for many years.

Fibre Channel (FC) became the leading choice for SAN networking during the mid-1990s. Traditional Fibre Channel networks contain special-purpose hardware called Fibre Channel switches that connect the storage to the SAN plus Fibre Channel HBAs (host bus adapters) that connect these switches to server computers. FC connections provide data rates between 1 Gbps and 16 Gbps.

iSCSI was created as a lower cost, lower performance alternative to Fibre Channel and started growing in popularity during the mid-2000s. iSCSI works with Ethernet switches and physical connections instead of specialized hardware built specifically for storage workloads. It provides data rates of 10 Gbps and higher.

iSCSI appeals especially to smaller businesses who usually do not have staff trained in the administration of Fibre Channel technology. On the other hand, organizations already experienced in Fibre Channel from history may not feel compelled to introduce iSCSI into their environment.

An alternative form of FC called Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) was developed to lower the cost of FC solutions by eliminating the need to purchase HBA hardware. Not all Ethernet switches support FCoE, however.

Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel

Client to Server uses Ethernet Data Network and Server to Storage uses Fibre Channel Network

iSCSI shared

iSCSI shared

Server to Storage and Server to Clients uses shared Ethernet Newtwork

iSCSI dedicated

iSCSI Dedicated

Dedicated Server to Storage Ethernet Network

iSCSI with a dedicated VLAN

iSCSI with VLANs

Server to Storage and Server to Clients use shared switches, but traffic is split into seperate VLANs

Fibre Channel over Ethernet

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)

Server to Storage and Server to Clients use shared 10Gbps Ethernet Network

Cloud Storage Solutions

These days, small businesses increasingly need access to their data on the go, with no overhead for storage maintenance and no hardware maintenance costs. Cloud storage provides an efficient solution and is rapidly gaining in popularity.

Data Storage Oprions. Before cloud-computing, individuals stored their personal data on hard drives and memory cards. But computers and mobile phones can be easily damaged or lost, and may require physical proximity to the device in order to access the stored data. Businesses have stored their data on large-sized servers hosted in dedicated data centers. Data can only be accessed by a user who logs in to the corporate network, and it may not be accessible via the Internet or when the user is on the move.

What is cloud storage? A cloud service provider or a cloud hosting company provides a fixed-size server space to clients, who use it to store data. While the client owns the stored data, the hosting company owns and maintains the required hardware. The cloud host offers non-stop accessibility to client data, while providing secure access as designated by the clients. The data, in turn, may be stored across one or many servers, configured by the cloud hosting company in their data centers.

There are almost as many cloud storage services as clouds in the sky, but we try to list some of them, focusing on business-centric offerings (in many cases, providers offer consumer-oriented versions at a lower cost—and with less storage and/or fewer features).

How To Pick The Right Cloud Storage Provider

Enterprise cloud storage offers a number of benefits -- scalability, reduced infrastructure and predictable costs, to name a few. But moving data to a public cloud introduces a host of new concerns that organizations must address when evaluating providers.

To further complicate matters, no two enterprise cloud storage providers are alike. Service-level agreements, pricing models and regulatory compliance know-how differ greatly from one service provider to another. Below you can find the top factors to consider when choosing a cloud storage provider. If you take the time to weigh these factors, you can proceed with confidence.

Financial stability

If the cloud provider is not in a profitable financial position or is still trying to establish a successful business model and/or customer base, there is a high degree of risk this will be a losing venture and the company will fold.

Proven infrastructure

Although innovative technology and hardware can help streamline an industry or establish new industries, in the case of cloud backup, the infrastructure being implemented by the cloud provider must be a proven one for an enterprise customer to entrust the cloud provider with critical corporate data.

Established customer base

When looking for a provider, it helps to know which other businesses are using their services. A small customer base, although growing, would indicate more of a start-up. Loss in customer base would indicate something is wrong and making clients leave. Ensure that service providers that quote thousands or millions of customers are referencing business customers, not just customers. Use your internal or peer network to speak with customers of a given service provider.

Geographically distributed data centers

Geographically distributed data centers become important to ensure that there are failovers if constant uptime is mandated and there is an unforeseen problem with the primary data center where data is located. Location is important to diversify risk, especially in the case of natural disasters, but also to comply with regional jurisdictional requirements for data location. For example, some geographies have requirements that data not leave regional borders, which necessitates a service provider have physical facilities in that region.

Security

Make sure the cloud provider has a security program in place and that it is well documented and meets all mandates. This will help establish the security credibility of the cloud provider.

Robust encryption

Since security is the top concern for most cloud storage users, small businesses should look for a provider that offers personal key encryption. The ability for customers to set and manage their own encryption keys means the cloud provider cannot decrypt their files. They should also find a service provider that encrypts the data while it is both transferred to the cloud provider's system and while it is being stored in the system. The combined use of these two encryption types helps establish stronger data security that if only one was used.

Third-party validation and accreditation

Periodic, successful audits of a cloud provider's security procedures are essential to verify the cloud provider's processing and hosting of customer data is done safely and securely. SSAE 16 is a widely recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that verifies whether a service organization has been through an in-depth audit of its control objectives and control activities to ensure safe and secure process and hosting of customer data. Additionally, ISO 27001 certification establishes a potential cloud provider as having met international standards for measuring information security management systems.

SLA terms and execution

Established service-level agreement (SLA) terms and execution are integral not only to establishing how a customer's data will be processed and hosted but also to setting a transparent level of service the customer can expect from the cloud provider. This helps set expectation levels and establish the anticipated level of service.

Software Defined Storage (SDS)

Software-defined storage (SDS) is an approach to data storage in which the programming that controls storage-related tasks is decoupled from the physical storage hardware.

SDS places the emphasis on storage-related services rather than storage hardware. It is part of a larger industry trend that includes software-defined networking (SDN).

SDS places the emphasis on storage-related services rather than storage hardware. It is part of a larger industry trend that includes software-defined networking (SDN). As is the case with SDN, the goal of software-defined storage is to provide administrators with flexible management capabilities through programming. Without the constraints of a physical system, a storage resource can be used more efficiently and its administration can be simplified through automated policy-based management. Potentially, a single software interface could be used to manage a shared storage pool that runs on commodity hardware.

Definition by TeachTarget Network

SDS moves advanced functionality out of your storage devices and into your servers, making for easier, more effective, and more comprehensive management. Best of all, this works across multi-vendor storage devices, for both on-premise and off-premise cloud deployments without continually adding costly new hardware.

IT4SME is ideally positioned to help you with today’s turbulent storage landscape. We get to know your business and challenges, advising on the best mix of solutions available, and safely supporting your organisation into the future.

We get that one-size rarely fits all, so we make sure SDS works with your existing infrastructure, helping you achieve the right balance of hardware, software, cloud and managed services for your business. Above all, we make technology work, so you can get on with running your business.

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