What is storage management?
Storage management is the method by which organisations ensure data integrity, access, policy/regulation compliance and effective storage resource use. It involves developing a plan to provision, configure, back up and monitor data storage infrastructure to prevent data loss, performance slowdowns and access problems.
Why do enterprises need storage management?
Fundamentally, storage management ensures that users have access to data when they need it. But more than that, data storage management has become increasingly central to the success of any enterprise as remote work, cloud services and cybersecurity concerns have come to dominate the technology landscape. Managing storage can help improve computing performance and protect against data loss across geographic areas and users 24/7.
What are the qualities of good storage management?
Accommodating constantly changing needs and applications is a critical part of any enterprise’s operations and storage management features prominently in it. An effective storage management strategy centralises storage administration, providing one view over every storage system so that your entire storage environment can function optimally. This unified approach also helps organisations customise their storage capacity, scaling up and down as needed.
And as data volumes continue to grow, the data retention policy part of storage management can help organisations stay ahead of capacity needs and on top of costs.
Why is storage management important?
A good storage management programme can give organisations an edge in accomplishing overall business goals. That’s because as data volumes – particularly unstructured data volumes – surge with the rising use of AI, machine learning and IoT, an organisation can quickly become overwhelmed when trying to process and use it all effectively. With storage concerns under control, enterprises can be more effective at creating solutions, serving customers and transporting goods: virtually anything that the company is in business to accomplish.
The following are reasons why storage management is critical to business operations:
- Performance: When storage is managed efficiently, it means that systems can respond quickly and data is readily available when needed.
- Access: With a global and remote workforce, demand on networks can vary widely. A solid storage management programme can help keep the lines of access free from outdated and unnecessary information and ready to respond when needed.
- Compliance: Data retention decisions are inherent in storage management because these dictate capacity requirements. A clear data retention policy keeps an organisation both in compliance with regulations and in control of storage demands.
- Disaster/threat recovery: Storage management also encompasses data protection, ensuring data is secure and backed up at all times.
What are the different storage techniques?
Storage techniques range from old-school tape drives to discs with five dimensions for intense storage needs. When choosing storage techniques, it’s most practical to take a fit-for-purpose approach.
1. Tape drives: A cheap, reliable storage option, tape drives last 30 years or longer and require little maintenance. They hold large quantities of data, but because the drives needed to read their content are pricy, it’s more budget-friendly to use tape drives for storing information that you rarely need to access, such as enterprise backups.
2. Hard disk drives (HDDs): With a low upfront cost, hard disk drives are adequate for most storage needs. An optical disk stores data with speeds from 5,400 to 7,000 RPM. While they cost relatively little, the data stored on them will only survive between three to five years.
3. Solid-state drives (SSDs): Quicker and more durable and long-lasting than HDDs, SSDs are compact options that use a series of flash memory to recall information. Their compact size and longer lifespan justify their selection in your storage portfolio.
4. Hybrid flash arrays: Combining HDDs and SSDs to balance performance, hybrid flash arrays capture the low cost of one and the efficiency of the other in one method.
5. 5D data storage: Using fused quartz discs to encode data, 5D offers 360 TB of data in a tiny, durable package. What’s more, with 5D you can save information in three physical and two optical dimensions.
6. Cloud storage: While cloud storage is versatile, scalable and ultra-accessible, it poses security concerns that must be carefully addressed in an enterprise’s data protection policies.
What are the benefits of storage management?
As workloads have become increasingly complex as well as broadly distributed across locations, establishing a data storage management system brings much-needed order to the business of adapting to change. In fact, the benefits of storage management are wide-ranging and contribute to the overall health of an organisation.
- Performance improvement: For apps to perform well, the storage system supporting them must be in top shape. A storage management programme systematises maintenance and upgrade tasks for all storage devices, regardless of location.
- Data protection: With constantly evolving security threats and regulations, organisations that utilise a storage management programme have rigid protocols in place guarding each storage structure.
- Access consistency: As storage is better managed, user access can remain consistent despite fluctuations in demand. That’s because with a good storage management programme, as data volumes rise, the system in place knows where and how to store the incoming data, sending it out of the traffic flow just as demand surges.
- Adaptability: With a good storage management strategy, scaling capacity up and down in response to fluctuating demand means that an organisation can remain nimble and responsive.
- Cost savings: By centralising storage management, storage administrators can use resources more efficiently, responding with capacity on an as-needed basis rather than planning for and purchasing capacity in advance of a spike in demand.
- Easier administration: When a storage management programme is in place, the centralisation helps administrators keep track of multiple storage systems, leading to better resource utilisation.
- Data compliance: A storage management strategy includes a data retention policy, which provides strict rules on how long to keep defined categories of data. This ensures that an organisation complies with the regulations pertaining to the country in which they operate.
What are the challenges of storage management?
As workloads become more complex and widely distributed, storage management implementation must address many challenges head on to keep an organisation functioning. The following are the most pressing issues for storage management to address.
Matching data value to budget: Not every bit of data deserves equal storage accommodation and knowing which deserves more costly housing requires some close analysis. Priority should be given to highly critical data that needs to be delivered quickly and is accessed frequently. That level of data deserves more expensive solid-state and in-memory storage. Conversely, data that is seldom accessed can hang out on cheap cold storage drives. Organising this storage cost structure is an important step in ensuring optimal performance at the lowest cost.
Aligning storage with overall IT infrastructure: If storage deployments aren’t carefully planned and allocated, applications and storage types may not line up for optimal performance. The wrong storage can slow down an application as easy as flipping a switch, so IT should directly supervise storage usage and deployment.
Eliminating waste: These days, IT application test beds almost entirely reside in the cloud to free up internal resources such as OS servers and storage for other in-house functions. This can mean that excess storage resources may remain on the cloud – at a price – after testing is completed because a developer forgot to de-provision them. Additionally, without regular data reviews, much information may be retained unnecessarily for things such as legal discoveries that never happen or unfiltered IoT data that amounts to “machine noise”, which is meaningless.
Staying ahead of security threats: Being prepared to close access to storage devices when a cyberthreat emerges needs to be front and centre in any storage management programme.
Ensuring sufficient resources: Despite their best planning, enterprises can easily run out of storage and compute resources in a fast-paced market. Storage management that’s quickly adaptable can help reduce the impact of insufficient storage on core business applications and systems.
HPE storage management solutions
HPE GreenLake offers the storage you need to deliver business outcomes faster and unlock the full potential of your data. We deliver storage infrastructure with the performance, speed and efficiency your business needs on a cloud-based, as-a-service platform. HPE GreenLake is workload-optimised and built on an intelligent data platform that helps you adjust capacity in response to need, at near real time. That way, you can purchase exactly what your mission-critical, business-critical and general-purpose apps need.
- Mission-critical apps are those that will cripple your business if there is any downtime. We offer configurations with 100% availability and very low latency powered by HPE Primera all-flash.
- Business-critical apps for primary workloads need configurations with strict service level definitions and fast, reliable performance, which HPE Nimble Storage all-flash arrays offer.
- General-purpose apps need configurations that can handle both primary and secondary workloads. HPE Nimble adaptive flash hybrid storage arrays offer cost efficiency and flash performance with a radically simple architecture for mainstream workloads.
HPE GreenLake also offers storage services for AI and analytics to manage growing unstructured data needs. Using Qumulo’s modern hybrid file software running on HPE Apollo 4200 Gen10 servers, we deliver strong security and superior data visibility for your organisation. You can automate your workflow, use 100% of your available storage, scale without limits and get real-time insights into billions of files.
You can also meet storage needs for the densest data files with Scality RING and HPE Apollo 4200/4510 systems. These enable you to integrate seamlessly into both public and private clouds, ensure long-term retention and provide data search capabilities across stored data, regardless of location.