Taking Storage Strategic
You have your RAID arrays, your storage area network, your service-level agreements, and your compliance records, but do you have a clear view of your overall storage goals?
To put it another way--a way your CEO and key business partners will understand--is your storage infrastructure working hard enough to bring strategic value to your company?
That question might seem too big and vague to ponder, particularly for storage managers already struggling to keep their heads above water amid a rising tide of data demands, regulatory requirements, and availability expectations.
But as storage becomes simultaneously more complex and more essential to mission-critical business operations, the idea of creating a company-wide storage strategy is starting to look less and less like a luxury and more and more like a requirement.
To deliver those gains, managers need first to get a handle on what they have and how well it's performing, a sometimes-challenging proposition in the age of interrelated and co-dependent storage arrays, servers, and databases.
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Why Is Data Management Important?
Perfectly managed data can be your company’s biggest asset. Below are several reasons why it is a good idea to consider storage solutions for your business.
Data is a valuable resource: Information about your business operations can be crucial for driving the future decision-making of the company. Having easy access to organized data can facilitate easier decision-making in the long run. It is also important to ensure that all data is stored securely as well; otherwise, you
Maintenance challenges: Unorganized data can be of no use. A data management system can help you organize all of the company’s data for easier access. Securely storing the data is also imperative to ensure that your company’s data is not susceptible to cyber-attacks.
Data is costly to replace: There is no way to replace damaged, misfiled, or misplaced data. Recapturing compromised data is a costly process that can be easily avoided by considering a better data storage strategy.
What’re the storage strategies?
Step one most often is to inventory existing storage infrastructure-- your physical storage; the applications and data within those systems; and the processes and people required to deliver those storage services. During the inventory process, storage experts say, managers shouldn't neglect to take a good look at their backup and recovery procedures as well.
Storage Resource Management
Managers of larger or more complex storage empires often turn to storage resource management (SRM) programs, which work across the enterprise to give a unified view of multiple storage platforms and systems. Such software can help corporations fine-tune their systems by identifying and utilizing free space across multiple servers and eliminating duplication of files.
Storage resource management systems can reduce the error rate of large-scale replication, and job failure when running job clusters and prevent local disks from getting filled, which can eventually cause major delays resulting in loss of productivity. SRM systems can unclog storage by automating the removal of temporary files after they are used.
Hybrid Cloud storage
Cloud storage is a great option for storing data that doesn’t need to be accessed frequently. This would allow storage managers to focus on high-priority data on-site and manage the data loads efficiently.
Cloud data storage can also improve the accessibility of data as well as promote a BYOD environment or ensure that your company can cope with the demands of the modern hybrid workplace model.
The ubiquity of the data also comes with increased security risks. Data can easily fall into the wrong hands with such an approach. But most cloud storage systems available currently come with layers of data security to prevent such blatant security breaches.
With the increasing demands of your growing business, your storage system has to keep up as well. Hybrid cloud storage can provide your company the scalability for services as your business grows.
Multiprotocol Storage Arrays
Networked storage also is an up-and-comer, with small and mid-sized businesses attracted especially to networked-attached storage (NAS), which enables them to deliver content to storage-hungry applications in a plug-and-play manner via common Ethernet protocols.
Corporations with the highest-end storage needs, and the money to invest in storage infrastructure, are moving into storage area networks (SANs), of both the fast-but-pricey Fiber Channel variety or the apparent network storage wave of the future, SAN over the ubiquitous IPs protocol. Massive storage capabilities over the world's most global protocol is a very attractive feature for most businesses.
Archive Older Data
Expensive data management for old and irrelevant data is an unnecessary expense. Archiving such data into simpler and cheaper storage media or even the cloud can reduce the storage burden on your existing storage infrastructure.
After all that fact-finding, it's time to put your knowledge to work. Specifically, you should be able to articulate what your IT department's goals are, how those goals, in turn, fit into the larger business objectives, and how storage can or should work to fulfill those goals. Is flexibility to accommodate rapid business growth a priority? Cost savings to offset slow or stable growth? Centralizing storage to data centers? Standardizing backup and disaster-recovery policies?
Whatever IT's goal, the storage strategy should match, experts say. To ensure that happens, some larger firms have begun adopting standard operating procedures to govern how storage is added. Others are relying more heavily than before on ever-more-detailed service level agreements, which work between the storage provider and the client to ensure both parties are meeting or exceeding their storage expectations. In the end, the goal is the same: to ensure storage is not just carrying its weight, but actively contributing to the bottom line.
Choosing the correct data storage strategy can be crucial to your company’s growth. With organized access to data, it is possible to gain valuable insight into your business operations and integrate your business with other tools that can automate company processes strategically. Examples of such valuable integrations can be customer relationship management software (CRM), enterprise resource planning software (ERP), marketing automation software, etc.
The ultimate goal of improving your business operations should be paramount to your data storage strategy.