In today’s world of digitization, e-commerce and Internet of Things (IoT) it has forced organizations to gear up and be prepared to address the ever increasing and continual storage growth. This does not stop here as with need of scalability the challenges also reap, in terms of identifying various sources of data, the retention mechanism, and most important to have a reliable infrastructure that address various forms of data. Organizations are faced with two options when they deliberate the idealway to store the massive amount of data generated every day. When to choose a dedicated storage system or an external hosted solution has still been a question. Though many companies still invest in dedicated storage solutions, many of them are also moving to cloud based storage model who has identified the relevant need in concurrence with the business requirements. It is estimated that by the end of 2016, 36% of all data will be stored on the cloud. However, as the two sides of a coin - there are pros and cons for each storage approach whether dedicated or cloud-based. There is no one size that fits all, therefore, it is important to understand and identify the correct approach based on an organization’s unique needs. The key business drivers for organization’s looking to adopt cloud-based storage and a dedicated storage varies based on performance centric storages, structured and unstructured data forms, On-site and off-site backup and archival, on-demand disaster recovery option and providing easy access to information that can be shared with appropriate users/applications.
Choosing the right TECHNOLOGY is Vital
Not all storage requires equal treatment. For example a desktop/ laptop generated content and data generated by the organizations mission critical business software and databases cannot be stored in the same storage technology. Storing both the workloads in same technology will result in expensive and over kill proposition for one and under performance for the other. This situation ultimately results into a big show down for the operations and smother the organization’s growth in the future. To avoid such a situation we categorize the data information in various Tiers as mentioned below with a level of importance and predictable growth rate.
These various forms of data based on importance and predictability demands for right technology. These demands are addressed through storage technology solution like.
Cloud Storage: The service offers various performance tiers to address the criticality of the data storage needs and secondly the capability of offering the storage that suits the structured block data formats and unstructured file/Object based data formats. Organizations leverage the features and benefits of
• Dynamic expand ability
• Self-provisioning portal
• Zero storage sprawl in multitenant environment
• Pay as you Go elasticity
• Reliable with service guarantees
Dedicated Storage: When customer has a business need for Fast, non-sharing, secured, and high available infrastructure those are powered by high bandwidth fiber and Ethernet network. Organizations goes for a Dedicated Storage which are purpose built customized storages addressing their business requirements.
Manageability & Control
Management and control of data is an important determinant in identifying the correct storage option for an enterprise. Dedicated storage is ideal for organizations that want more control over their data. Having a physical storage infrastructure is ideal for business enterprises looking at optimizing performance for different applications and data within a single system. The simple reason - it offers additional data management features like storage tiering, snapshots, and replication capabilities. Moreover, having a dedicated storage infrastructure greatly increases the ability to directly manage and fine tune storage performance of the entire workload stack which is an important factor for optimum application performance. An added advantage of a dedicated storage infrastructure is the ease in adhering to data security and compliance guidelines. Organizations who opt for cloud based storage services do not have the same level of control as those with dedicated storage infrastructure. The terms are governed by the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between the organization and the cloud based storage provider. Cloud based storage is ideal for organizations who do not want to invest in setting up a storage infrastructure themselves but would like to have a robust and a scalable storage solution. Organizations can benefit from the unlimited capacity, multi-tenancy and built-in DR facilities of the cloud to help them solve their data storage challenges. Cloud storage’s with capabilities of unique ID and end to end logical network segregation provides unprecedented layers of security. Moreover, storage systems get refreshed every three years, which is in itself a tedious process. Cloud storage options take the pain out of data migration during a storage technology refresh by adding new nodes and retiring old ones. This reduces the incidences of down time during a technology refresh, thereby, avoiding disruption to the business.
Latency & Availability
A data storage solution’s ability to store and permit access to data at any given point in time is an important factor in deciding whether an organization should opt for a cloud based storage or a dedicated storage infrastructure. Cloud storage has built in redundancy at all levels of the infrastructure - redundant cloud storage gateways and redundant WAN links help companies avoid protection gaps that could result in outages or data loss. Latency or delay in accessing data/ information in cloud storage can be minimized by opting for a hybrid cloud storage solution. Hybrid cloud storage solutions overcome latency issues by caching data locally and using WAN optimization techniques to reduce data traffic. Having a dedicated storage solution has its own advantages – one of them is that they can be configured for high availability, albeit at the array level. Multi array and multi-site availability with a dedicated storage solution still comes at a high cost and requires greater expertise. Dedicated storage gives an organization the flexibility to create a high level of data protection, DR and point in time recovery through actively supporting file system replication, tiering, snapshots and backup at the most granular levels. It is ideal for workloads requiring high performance, low latency storage i.e., server and desktop virtualization, or database applications.
With pay as you useor utility computing model, cloud storage becomes an attractive proposition for organizations looking at reducing cost overlays for having a fully functional dedicated storage solution. As you are basically paying for the amount of storage you use on a monthly (subscription) basis, you are spared of the capital costs for setting up the cloud infrastructure as well as other associated costs of power, space and expertise required to manage it. Though cloud storage solutions do significantly reduce overall capital outlays, they may come with some hidden costs that may increase the operating costs. Organizations are advised to conduct a due diligence with respect to pricing structures to ascertain that there are no incremental costs.
Cloud Storage or Dedicated Storage– Which Is Better
The choice between cloud storage and dedicated storage depends on the specific needs and requirements of an organization. Cloud storage offers you a flexible, mobile, and a cost efficient storage option where you can scale your storage as per your business requirements. If data governance and compliance is your main criteria of selecting a storage solution, then opt for a dedicated storage option. If you would like more information on cloud/dedicated storage solutions and what they can do for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts.
The author is Senior Manager- Products & Services, Netmagic