The growth of company files, e-mail, databases, and application data drives a constant need for more storage. But with many networks architected with storage directly attached to servers, growth means burdensome storage management and decreased asset utilization. Storage resources remain trapped behind individual servers, impeding data availability.
There are three storage consolidation architectures in common use today:
- direct-attached storage (DAS),
- network-attached storage (NAS), and
- the storage area network (SAN).
DAS structures are traditional in which storage is tied directly to a server and only accessible at that server. In NAS, the hard drive that stores the data has its own network address. Files can be stored and retrieved rapidly because they do not compete with other computers for processor resources. The SAN is the most sophisticated architecture, and usually employs Fibre Channel technology, although iSCSI-based technology SANs are becoming more popular due to their cost effectiveness. SANs are noted for high throughput and their ability to provide centralized storage for numerous subscribers over a large geographic area. SANs support data sharing and data migration among servers.
So how do you choose between NAS, RAID and SAN architectures for Storage Consolidation? Once a particular approach has been decided, how do you decide which vendor solutions to consider? There are a number of factors involved in making a qualified decision including near and long term requirements, type of environment, data structures, budget, to name a few. PTS approaches Storage Consolidation by leveraging our proven consulting approach:
- to gather information on client needs,
- survey the current storage approach, and
- assess future requirements against their needs and the current approach.
Critical areas for review and analysis include:
- Ease of current data storage management
- Time spent modifying disk space size at the server level
- Storage capacity requirements to meet long term needs
- Recoverability expectations in terms of Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives
- Needed structuring of near- and off-line storage for survivability and ease of access to data
- Security needed to maintain data storage integrity
- Evolving storage complexity if current architecture is maintained
- New applications considered for deployment
- Requirement to provide Windows clustering
- Interest in considering Thin Provisioning
- Storage spending as a percentage of total IT budget
PTS reviews all of the items above, and more — we then design the best storage architecture for both near and long term requirements and are able to source, install and manage leading edge storage solutions from companies such as Dell and Hitachi.
Ultimately, Storage Consolidation positively impacts costs associated with managing your IT network in terms of redundancy, disaster recovery, and network management. It also allows for a more secure network, free from wasted assets tied to particular servers or data center components. Finally, the tasks of provisioning, monitoring, reporting, and delivering the right storage services levels can be time consuming and complex and Storage Consolidation will enhance your ability to manage your organization’s data storage.