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What is Data Storage: Network Data Storage Solutions

Data storage solutions has evolved from storing files on multiple floppy discs or tape drives into various methods. The wide-ranging process now encompasses a wide range of different storage types and media.
  • July 15, 2019

Choosing a data storage solution for your network is a significant consideration. A process that was once merely storing files on multiple floppy discs or tape drives has evolved into various methods, thereby redefining the data storage definition to encompass a wide range of different storage types and media.

What is Data Storage?

The most simple definition of data storage is the retention of digitized information through various methods and media. The technology has come a long way since the early days and continues to let users save more data on smaller devices. No matter what type of data storage solution you choose, it is vital to have a backup and recovery plan.

Types of Data Storage
Data Backup

This method is the type of data storage that first comes to mind for most people. Many organizations set up a procedural process for backup and recovery. One of the most common is the 3-2-1 Rule.

This kind of storage involves having three copies of data (primary and two back-up copies also known as "hot copies" with shorter recovery points), storage retention on two different media and one cold copy off-site as a fail-safe recovery option. The hot copies are a replication of data if recovery is needed. The real backup of your data is your cold copy.

Pros

  • The simple setup allows connected devices to access the same files with permissions. 
  • Accessing hot or cold copies requires little effort. 
  • Storage on the network means local devices are not bogged down with files.

Cons

  • Any device not connected to the network does not have access to files. 
  • If the network is down, no one can access data or stored information. 
  • When the network needs to scale up for accommodating more storage needs, it requires more storage to be purchased.

Hybrid Flash Array

For lightning fast handling of your data storage; this is an excellent solution. There are two distinct types of storage within this category: the solid-state flash drive arrays and hybrid flash arrays. SSDs are faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and offer sub-millisecond latency. The hybrid flash arrays provide the best of the SDDs with the added flash for use as a high-speed cache.

Pros

  • This type of storage has fast response times and conduct input-output operations per second (20k IOPS). Which is significantly faster than HDD storage which clocks in at (200 IOPS).  
  • This type of storage requires less power and cooling, creating savings from implementation. 

Cons

  • The upfront cost of implementing is usually more than HDD storage options; however, the savings is in the longterm application. 
  • Flash arrays are ideal for low to mid-size data writing applications.

Hybrid Cloud Storage

Brings the best of both worlds of localized and cloud accessible data storage. This is an ideal solution for organizations with fluctuating network traffic. The configuration can be easily scaled up to accommodate fast growth and has accessibility features for users not locally on the network. 

Pros

  • Realization of cost savings because the cloud can handle bursts in traffic without the need to build additional infrastructure. 
  • Security features are often stronger than a traditional local network. 
  • Ease of accessibility, employees not in the local area, can easily use the network from anywhere with a hotspot or WiFi connection.

Cons

  • The upfront cost to implement a private cloud structure can be significant but should be seen as an investment in the growth of the organization. 
  • Clouds require maintenance and oversight usually in the form of a dedicated IT team.
What Features Should Be Considered?

All of these solutions are strong choices for data storage. Some of these storage types require an upfront investment in additional equipment and tools to maintain data centers. If you have a startup or business undergoing expansion, a good choice is a hybrid cloud that can grow with you with little additional investment.

All three work with security options such as Data at Rest Encryption (DaRE). In implementing best practices, no matter what storage solution you choose, encryption should be standard for your backup devices.

Reliability is another crucial point when choosing data storage for your business or organization. One of the best things you can do is set up a best practices policy for your data storage. Determine how many copies of data should be made, the level of encryption and if storage is on-site or off-site.

CDW can assist you in choosing the best data storage solutions for your needs. Talk to one of our knowledgable professionals about the type of network and data storage required to narrow down your solution to the perfect fit for your business or organization.

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