Why It's Important to Know All Your Storage Options

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-11-10
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - Why It's Important to Know All Your Storage Options
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    Why It's Important to Know All Your Storage Options

    by Chris Preimesberger
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    2 - Plenty of Choices for Hard Disk, Solid-State Media
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    Plenty of Choices for Hard Disk, Solid-State Media

    Storage architecture options with and without NAND flash are available in an array of options. Make sure you're educated on the pros and cons of your architectural options before making a choice on what is best for your application environment.
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    3 - Why Even Consider Next-Gen Storage Options?
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    Why Even Consider Next-Gen Storage Options?

    Storage architectures built in the pre-virtualization era were not designed for the random I/O profiles associated with virtualized workloads. Bolting on NAND flash as a cache is not an effective way to deliver more performance.
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    4 - Traditional Monolithic Arrays
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    Traditional Monolithic Arrays

    The monolithic storage arrays (storage-area networks, network-attached storage) were designed to meet the needs of environments before the requirements for virtualization, scale and high performance of today's enterprises emerged. If you have an older system, some new hardware is probably in the cards at some point.
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    5 - Host-Side Flash
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    Host-Side Flash

    Host-side flash has become a popular choice to quickly remedy local host performance issues, but this limits the performance fix to applications located on the single host and places a heavy burden on the local CPU to drive both applications and flash performance. This is fine for a single-host solution but not for shared storage as your enterprise scales.
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    6 - All-Flash Array
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    All-Flash Array

    All-flash arrays deliver high performance to your applications, but they also can carry a hefty dollar-per-gigabyte cost. Plus, they have limits in scaling capacity with performance due to their architecture. This can work well for a small batch of identified applications that require performance all of the time but not for the bulk of applications that need that performance periodically.
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    7 - Software-Defined, Scale-Out Object Storage
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    Software-Defined, Scale-Out Object Storage

    Software-defined storage has three key characteristics: 1) software stack is decoupled from hardware for flexibility in using various commodity hardware options; 2) use of object storage to enable Web-scale performance for petabytes of data, structured and unstructured; and 3) business/application-level policy enforcement of performance and durability SLAs. Many existing and emerging storage options fall into this category, so be sure to dig into the details and be ready for some steep pricing.
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    8 - Your Storage Should Map Closely to the Enterprise
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    Your Storage Should Map Closely to the Enterprise

    A storage system needs to be modeled in parallel to the type of business it is serving. Is your business data usage static or dynamic? If it's static, perhaps virtualized servers and cloud services aren't immediately necessary. If it's dynamic, will the storage architecture support simple capacity scaling?
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    9 - Make Sure Automation Is in the Picture
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    Make Sure Automation Is in the Picture

    An important question to ask a potential storage vendor is this: Will the storage architecture be able to automate application performance management? This goes for applications used in-house and in mobile devices. You may need to look independently for help in managing corporate data in mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
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    10 - Can You Scale Without Hitting Bottlenecks?
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    Can You Scale Without Hitting Bottlenecks?

    Storage historically has always been about clearing and avoiding bottlenecks, no matter what size the system. A key question to ask a vendor is this: Will the architecture scale application performance as a new capacity is added without causing or running into bottlenecks? Will you have to manually load balance the system as you scale?
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    11 - Anticipate Storage Capacity Needs at Least Three Years Out
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    Anticipate Storage Capacity Needs at Least Three Years Out

    Aside from capacity growth, do you anticipate performance need growing due to new projects, seasonal spikes and other factors? It's a good idea to look at the enterprise's storage capacity history for the last five years and make some projections based on that plus company sales metrics that can project growth of the enterprise itself.
 

Data storage systems have evolved greatly over the years and continue to get faster and more efficient with each new version. There are two macro factors driving innovation in storage: The IT itself and data center architecture are reinventing themselves quickly at this time, and the workload use cases for which IT departments are buying storage are becoming more diverse. As long as these environmental parameters keep changing, there will be room for new companies to build different and improved storage products. Because there are a number of options from which to choose when it comes to your data center, it's important to understand next-generation storage options and know that many legacy architectures are still quite usable. The role of spinning disks is beginning to shift more toward extra capacity and archival roles, and building systems out of a mix of different media brands and types is not going away anytime soon. This slide show, put together with eWEEK reporting and industry insight from cloud-based data storage provider Coho Data, examines various storage options and outlines some key best practices.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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