What is enterprise storage?

Enterprise storage is a centralised storage system that businesses use for managing and protecting data. It also enables data sharing through connectivity to various computers in a network environment that includes UNIX, LINUX, Object and Microsoft platforms.

Enterprise storage differs from consumer storage with respect to the size of the storage operations and also the technology used. Enterprise business storage has to cater to an increased number of users including data miners, explorers, departmental users, multidimensional users, power users, and executive users.

Enterprise business storage plays a key role in ensuring that enterprise business intelligence is available to be leveraged at the most opportune moment and that discrete data silos are consolidated to provide an enterprise business intelligence infrastructure.

There are three basic storage systems which are direct attached storage (DAS), storage area network (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS).

DAS is the basic building block on which SAN and NAS can be deployed. Therefore, DAS which constitutes block-level storage dictates the performance of SAN and NAS and ultimately the entire enterprise storage environment. The host computer’s storage interface is connected to DAS. A data network is required so that computers other than the host computer can access DAS.

The storage devices that are used to develop a DAS storage subsystem include ISCSI, PATA, SATA, SAS, FC, Flash, and RAM.

SANs offer a higher level of functionality than DAS as they allow more than one host to connect to a single storage device at the block level. This enables server computers to systematically control the storage volume in a storage device. However, multiple clients cannot share a single volume. SAN offers a host of compatibility advantages with respect to applications. SAN technologies include iSCSI, FC, and AoE.

NAS is essentially a file server that resides on top of SAN or DAS. NAS ensures Microsoft compatibility by using server message block (SMB) and network file system (NFS) for UNIX compatibility. Unlike SAN or DAS, NAS allows multiple clients to share a single volume. The drawback of NAS is that it does not offer compatibility with as many applications as SAN or DAS; this is because most applications run with a block-level storage device.

Apart from the obvious need of storing data, an enterprise data storage solution has to fit the bill for many other requirements. These include protection against network security threats, backup plans, disaster recovery setup, and also compliance with legislations on the process of storing, managing, and archiving data. Data integrity and privacy are of special importance to the healthcare and finance industry.

When selecting an enterprise storage solution, you should focus on your organization’s long-term business goals and particular requirements.
Elements your organisation will need to take into consideration include:

  • The amount and type of data Performance as measured by I/O and throughput requirements
  • Availability of reliable data for mission-critical applications
  • Scalability
  • Budget
  • Backup and
  • Recovery

101 Data Solutions are experts in this area and can advise you on which system works best for you.

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