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No one-size-fits-all solution for enterprise storage

Modeen Malick, Commvault.

At the same time, many need help with data management, as they cannot master the increasing complexities of working remotely, an increasing flow of data and a multitude of new technologies, from 5G to l. ‘IoT and the smart edge. .

Hayden Sadler, Country Manager for South Africa at Infinidat, explains that the different types of storage platforms try to balance costs against capacity. However, there is always a trade-off on one or more of the key principles of enterprise storage: performance, scalability, availability, and cost. “With storage arrays that depend on the media they use to deliver their capacity, it has been impossible to deliver the best performance, scalability and availability at an affordable price. The capabilities of an enterprise storage platform defined by the architecture and the storage media are intrinsically linked to the cost of the media.

The different types of storage such as storage area network (SAN), network attached storage (NAS) and direct attached storage (DAS) and the storage media used, such as solid-state drives (SSD), hard disks (HDD) and hybrids are therefore generally positioned for certain use cases.

For example, DAS, storage connected directly to a PC, can be positioned where cost is more important than scalability and / or high availability, says Sadler. “A small SAN array, using only SSD / flash media, can be positioned where performance is critical, but scalability is not required – this helps reduce costs due to expensive media. Ideally, an enterprise storage platform should offer the highest levels of performance, scalability, and availability. This, of course, at an affordable price.

Gone are the days when CIOs tolerated people coming to their data centers to add extra capacity.

Hayden Sadler, Infinidat

In the world of data storage, there are three main approaches to storing your data, adds Daniel Teixeira, OS manager at Pure Storage: file, block and object.

“Block storage divides data into separate chunks – fixed-sized blocks of data. It allows the underlying storage system to recover it no matter where it is stored. Its advantages are that it is efficient, easy to read and write, and has low latency.

“File storage means data is stored and managed as a file in a folder. If you’ve ever accessed files on a hard drive, you’ve taken care of file storage. File storage systems provide readability and convenience to users. Additional benefits include easy-to-scale archives and data protection.

“In object storage, data is stored and managed as self-contained units called objects. Object storage is the format of choice for public cloud storage services like Amazon S3, and supports the architecture used by most websites and Software-as-a-Service applications. The benefits include scalability, rapid analysis, API support, improved data integrity, ”he says.

So what are the pitfalls of different types of business storage?

According to Modeen Malick, senior systems engineer at Commvault, DAS has become less common at the enterprise level due to the sheer volume of data to be stored, and it is also less flexible than other storage media. It can only be accessed by the device to which it is connected. This limits its application, especially in today’s digital and connected world. NAS is also limited, as devices must be connected to the network to access data. In a remote working world, this has serious implications for productivity. SAN requires Fiber Channel connectivity, which is expensive. The hardware used in SANs is also expensive, complex to deploy, and requires specialized skills, resulting in ongoing maintenance and management costs. Another option, software-defined storage (SDS), presents integration and interoperability challenges, and using inexpensive, underperforming hardware could mean underperforming storage. SDS systems are typically distributed systems, which can be difficult to maintain, and there is often additional complexity as the scale increases. When it comes to the cloud, cost is often one of the main drivers; however, while the initial cost may be less, the lifetime cost must be considered from a return on investment perspective. Additionally, if the applications are hosted locally, but the data is stored in the cloud, there may be additional networking costs, and latency, and data access speed is also a potential pitfall. depending on the availability of bandwidth. There are also data sovereignty issues, compliance issues, and the possibility of “noisy neighbors”, where one high-traffic user can negatively impact the performance of another.

Containers and Kubernetes are the driving force behind how the industry is reinventing the way applications are created and run, improving the IT efficiency of the business.

Daniel Teixeira, Pure Storage

Speaking of trends affecting the field of enterprise storage, Sadler says that despite increased interest in migrating to the cloud, in reality the cloud does not work for all scenarios. The problems mentioned above make the cloud unsuitable in many cases. “On the other hand, traditional storage supply cycles can take months, and this lack of agility is detrimental. A “pay as you grow” pricing model is cost effective and allows organizations to immediately start using capacity to meet storage needs. This enables organizations to leverage the storage and resources that meet the needs of multiple workloads, in multiple locations. The relentless growth and demand for storage capacity, along with petabyte-scale workloads and applications, are changing the face of storage demands, both globally and in South Africa. What we have seen is a growing need for on-premises storage available on demand, to deliver large-scale capacity, agility, speed to market, better customer experience through analytics in real time and at lower and more predictable costs.

There are currently three major trends driving customer demand, adds Teixeira. The need for flexibility, the increased use of containers and the increase in ransomware attacks.

Customers are increasingly demanding flexible consumption models, as the old model of consuming and deploying technology no longer works for many. They want the flexibility to tailor capacity as needed. They want an automated service model, a model where the complexity of day-to-day management is removed.

Containers and Kubernetes are the driving force behind building and running applications, improving the IT efficiency of the business. Companies are evolving their cloud strategies to become multicloud, and containers are also essential. Containers make it easy to deploy cloud-based applications because they contain all the information needed to run them in manageable packages. For those running an infrastructure across multiple environments, Kubernetes and containers can help provide flexibility and allow users to easily migrate data traditionally difficult to move between environments.

Finally, there is the sad reality that ransomware attacks are increasing at an unprecedented rate and are no longer a question of “if” but “when”. Effective infrastructure management plays a critical role in mitigation and recovery after an attack. It is essential to be aware of what is “normal” in the functioning of infrastructures. Without it, it could take weeks to see anything abnormal that signals the data or systems could be compromised. In the aftermath of an attack, it is vital to enable rapid recovery and a return to normal business operations. Organizations need valid, immutable backup copies of their data, which are protected and cannot be eradicated, modified or encrypted. This, along with the ability to restore data quickly and at scale, is paramount.

Of course, there is no discussion of corporate storage without thinking about security and privacy. Malick believes data security should always include basic security principles, such as strong passwords and up-to-date firmware. Best security practices should also be followed, for example, encrypting data both at rest and in transit. It is also important to implement multi-factor authentication protocols and have an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy. Data governance is becoming crucial, especially in light of the growing body of data privacy laws. Additionally, as the cloud becomes more widespread, data protection and availability is critical. It is important to include role-based security and encryption of 256-bit or higher. Multi-level authentication is also essential, along with an immutable copy of the data. We are also seeing relatively new security techniques such as air gap, which protects data by creating a separate network with no connectivity to public networks.

On privacy, Sadler says, when you consider the big picture, including securing data higher up the stack from the storage platform, encryption of data at rest may not be possible. not be sufficient when used alone. This is because when data leaves the storage medium and is migrated to another layer, data at rest encryption no longer protects it.

Multicloud strategies will become the de facto standard, allowing flexibility to support a variety of use cases, business units, and development groups.

Modeen Malick, Commvault

“The biggest and most serious data breaches that have affected both the public and private sectors all operate at the application layer. This includes almost all versions of malware and advanced persistent threat attacks. For this reason, application layer encryption is the best form of encryption to deal with these serious threats. However, enterprise storage platforms that rely on data reduction rates to provide an acceptable business model may no longer be affordable when deployed in an environment that leverages enterprise-level encryption. application. This is because storage-based deduplication and compression typically cannot occur on data that is already encrypted at the application layer. Ideally, an enterprise storage platform positioned in these environments should be able to provide an acceptable business model without relying on data reduction ratios for the data storage capacity required by customers, ”he says. he.

No one-size-fits-all solution for enterprise storage

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