Enterprise storage is a broad category that includes products and services designed to assist large organizations with saving and retrieving digital information. Unlike consumer or small business storage devices, enterprise storage can handle large volumes of data and large numbers of users. It usually involves centralized storage repositories, such as storage area networks (SANs) or network-attached storage (NAS) devices.
Enterprise storage can be broken down into several categories. Primary storage houses the data that end users are actively accessing. Backup storage contains copies of the information in primary storage for use in disaster recovery situations or in other circumstances where a secondary copy is necessary. Backup storage is closely related to archive storage, which is where enterprises keep outdated information that needs to be saved for compliance or other purposes.
Whether on-premise or cloud deployment
Organizations can choose to purchase and deploy on-premises enterprise storage systems, or they can choose to store their data with an external cloud computing service. The advantage of on-premises enterprise storage is that the organization retains complete control of the hardware and data, satisfying some security and compliance concerns. On the other hand, cloud-bases enterprise storage simplifies storage management and may lower costs in some cases. Some companies take a hybrid approach and use a combination of both on-premise and cloud-based storage.
One of the key benefits of enterprise storage solutions is that they enable file sharing and collaboration among workers. Many offer security features, such as user-based permissions, that aren’t commonly found in consumer storage solutions. Enterprise storage also offers better performance, reliability, availability and scalability than other types of storage solutions.
Storage Networking and Management
Enterprise storage devices utilize similar technology as consumer and small business storage solutions. However, enterprise data storage generally offers higher reliability, availability and scalability. As a result, enterprise storage generally costs more than consumer or small business storage. It also usually requires more time and expertise to set up, while many consumer storage vendors takes a plug-and-play approach, and enterprise storage networks are typically run by specialized personnel or administrators.
The following three steps for deploying on-premises storage networks involve setting up the physical hardware and cables, migrating data (if necessary), configuring the devices and testing the system.
1) Choose a Storage Media
If you decide to build your own storage system, you’ll have to make some additional decisions .For example, you’ll need to select which storage media to use: Tape, hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs). Tape is the least expensive medium, but its performance and capabilities generally make it suitable only for backup and archive applications. HDDs are more expensive than tape, but they offer the higher performance necessary for primary storage. SSDs cost the most of all, but they offer much better performance and reliability than either tape or HDDs. Many organizations use a mix of tape, HDDs and SSDs, and some storage devices themselves include a mix of HDDs and SSDs.
2) Choose a Storage Architecture
You’ll also need to decide on your storage architecture. Enterprise storage can include direct-attached storage (DAS), storage area networks (SANs) or network-attached storage (NAS) devices. DAS devices connect directly to an individual PC or server and don’t offer the same collaboration capabilities as networked storage. However, you do gain collaboration benefits from SAN and NAS devices. SANs provide block-level storage for access by servers, while NAS devices offer file-level storage for access by end users. Many organizations use a combination of DAS, NAS and SAN devices.
3) Choose a Network Protocol
You’ll also need to choose which network protocol you’ll use. Your options include the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP), Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) and Internet SCSI (iSCSI) protocol. The type of storage architecture you select will impact which network protocol(s) you can use. For example, Fibre Channel and iSCSI are SAN protocols, while NAS is an IP storage protocol. Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has emerged as one way for Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks to converge.