Data Management, Storage Questions Every IT Administrator Should Ask

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Data Management, Storage Questions Every IT Administrator Should Ask

by Chris Preimesberger

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What's the Right Balance of Fast and Slow in My Data Center?

Increased performance is not always better, nor is it always necessary. Think about top-of-the-line sports cars—should every family in America own one simply because the car is capable of driving 200 miles per hour? Of course not. Excessive speed doesn't solve the needs of every car consumer, and top performance capabilities are not necessary for every tier of data storage. The legitimate needs of users must be the core part of the equation in determining the right balance. In general, only a small percentage of data is accessed with the regularity that justifies higher-cost, higher-performance storage.

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When Is It Time to Stop Increasing Flash Spending?

Flash-based storage infrastructure might be ubiquitous, but all-flash arrays are very expensive to scale and most data centers struggle with the all-or-none tradeoff that is at the core of many a flash sales pitch. Meanwhile, all-flash arrays don't solve core data management and life cycle problems. To free up resources to address those priorities, IT admins have to divide their storage resources into tiers and move data between those tiers as the company's performance requirements evolve.

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How Do I Grow Each Tier of Storage?

The most common, and most difficult, data storage problem faced by IT pros is scaling efficiently. Hot, warm and cold tiers of storage need uninterrupted disaster recovery, backup and data management support as they scale. Today, the only way to ensure your storage is sized appropriately is to closely monitor your company's data usage at all levels to make sure you are not overinvesting or underinvesting in any one area.

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Can I Easily Move Data Between Those Tiers?

Different elements of one data set can register at different temperatures, and they won't uphold the same temperature permanently. IT admins need to be able to shift data to appropriate tiers throughout its life cycle, but today's technology frequently creates issues with speed of movement and incorrect predictions for data usage. To facilitate those temperature shifts, the IT environment needs to be capable of anticipating and accommodating frequent changes.

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How Can I Break Out of the Commodity Storage Hardware Life Cycle?

Storage is the vegetable of the data center; it has to be part of the core "diet." Regardless of whether IT eats through all it has or leaves it untouched, it will eventually rot. Soon enough, the enterprise will have to buy more. Time passes, technology advances, and IT finds itself ripping and replacing—again.

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What Tradeoff Does SaaS Bring to the Table?

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) options give admins a chance to break free of this buy hardware/software, use it and buy-it-again cycle. However, this process can lead to certain tradeoffs. Before moving forward with new services, it is imperative to ensure that they offer the same level of availability and reliability as your existing infrastructure. Additionally, investigate potential conflicting interests from your vendors, as well as your end users, to avoid incidents that can put your data at risk down the road.

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What SaaS and IaaS Options Are Best for My Business?

Managed services offer a chance for IT pros, CTOs and CIOs to directly address their organization's chronic pain points. The key is to identify which issues have come to be viewed as unavoidable, and make it a goal to improve upon them. For example, if your "service" is really just a leasing arrangement, you probably will not be improving upon the constant rip-and-replace churn that is plaguing your operations. The IT climate is ripe with opportunities for new services and technologies to change the enterprise infrastructure game.

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Can I Manage My Company's Growing Data Footprint?

Users are data huggers. Between file versions, email folders and even employees' personal music libraries, it often doesn't take long for a company to amass an enormous data footprint. However, whether that data is crucial for business or simply taking up space, IT admins still need to store, protect and manage it. This can only be achieved if proper data management policies are in place and the service level of the infrastructure is well-matched to the needs of the applications and their users. This means knowing what's out there and how it is being used. Most frequently, the lowest priority data can create the biggest headaches for IT if it is mismatched with its infrastructure.

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What Will I Do if Our Business Doubles in Size This Year?

As a company grows, its IT admins need to not only perfect the balance between fast and slow storage, but also back up and protect the data—and be prepared to do it at scale. The pressures of expanding data and new business application initiatives are compounded by the costly, difficult nature of the storage stack. In a properly selected and thought-out environment, larger scale should have the benefit of reducing costs. IT teams need to manage a growing environment by seeking investments that add simplicity, scale easily and, ultimately, use fresh strategies to take on age-old problems.

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Putting IBM Flash Tech to Work, From Beverage to Travel Firms

As the amount of data that organizations across industries create continues to grow exponentially—and the importance of speed-of-access to big data insights is more critical than ever—challenges around the storage and management of data arise. With an increased emphasis on access and analysis of mass amounts of data comes the need to move, store and recover that information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Enter flash storage. By enabling quick access to big data insights, flash allows organizations to improve performance and overall profit. Flash's presence in the enterprise storage space has increased since 2014 and is expected to continue to do so through the remainder of 2015 and beyond. Among the leaders in flash storage arrays is IBM, which continues to enable organizations across a variety of industries—including retail, health, transportation, media and manufacturing—to accelerate...
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