On-site, Cloud or Hybrid? These days you have an unprecedented amount of choice for all your data storage requirements.
Finding the right solution for your business still requires a great deal of research and understanding. Below is a breakdown of each solution which will hopefully assist in the decision making process.
The advantage of storing data on-site is that you retain full control of the hardware and data, which should also meet most of your security and compliance concerns if your backup and disaster recovery (DR) systems are up to date.
Deploying a storage network on-site usually involves a three-step process: setting up the physical hardware, migrating your data, and configuring and testing the system.
You’ll also need to select the appropriate storage media. Tapes, hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state disks (SSDs) all have their pros and cons. Tape is generally inexpensive, but its performance makes it suitable mainly for backup and archive functions only. HDDs offer higher performance for primary, more accessible data, whereas SSDs generally provide the best performance and reliability. You can also go with a combination of all three.
Storage architecture is of paramount importance and includes direct-attached storage (DAS), storage area networks (SANs) or network-attached storage (NAS) devices. What you ultimately choose will depend on the collaboration capabilities you want between individual PCs and servers.
Cloud storage is a simple and scalable way to store, access, and share data over the Internet, with many of the biggest solutions pioneered by Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.
Cloud solutions have the advantage of saving space, simplifying management and generally lowering costs. They also provide on-demand capacity which is easily scalable for future needs.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud storage solutions is that you’re relieved from making decisions about hardware and network architecture, because the cloud vendor takes care of that for you. Once you’ve found a solution you’re happy with, it’s relatively easy to configure it to work with your current IT infrastructure.
This typically involves keeping essential data in-house and using cloud-based services for lower priority data. On-site data storage is also used for performance (latency and bandwidth, and security).
You also have storage virtualisation technologies, which promises superior archiving, backup and recovery administration.
Hybrid storage solutions are also being used to optimise application performance, while software-based systems are becoming more universal, offering end users a far greater range of storage and backup options.