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Enterprise Storage

What is

Enterprise storage has evolved immensely over the past several years with new technologies and platforms. What was once heavily leveraged using hard disk drives and RAID levels (performance was designed around spindle speeds and the number of drives) has now become much more robust with higher performance and includes, in many cases, artificial intelligence (AI). 

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When it comes to storage, there is an avalanche of new terms: 
Intel(R)Optane, all flash, hybrid, NVMe, storage class memory, object, AWS S3, hyperconverged, Tier 0, enhanced fiber channel, iSCSI, and network attached. What does all this mean?    


Data for any organization is its life blood. The applications and infrastructure that run that data is the heart of the organization. The #1 priority is getting the data to the applications in the proper manner and at the correct performance and availability levels to meet the organizations objectives. How does one go about deciding which platform is the right fit for your environment?  


Enterprise storage is a broad term. This term can be used to discuss the organization’s primary data storage platform; it can also be used to refer to the file share storage where the network data store resides for general back-office applications; and this term can also apply to backup and archive storage targets on premises or in the cloud. 


One aspect that can cause great pain for an IT team is when they have the wrong type of storage for their data and applications.  Either the latency to access the data may be excessive or the duty cycle for the storage device is too high, resulting in pre-mature failures. The right tool for the job is always the best option. 

Simplify Business Continuance 

You may have heard stories about someone going down to the local commodity electronics store, buying a stack of hard disk drives, a RAID controller and an enclosure and taking these home to build out their own “Storage Area Network”, only to discover it is not always that simple. Out of the box, these items may not play nicely together. Work may need to be done to get these items to interoperate properly and once they finally seem to work, there will most likely be a glitch that comes along to make the storage go offline. Firmware incompatibilities, driver issues, HDD versions are just a few examples.  And when that happens, you must start all over again to find a way to get things to work properly. 


The idea of cheap storage that you can build on your own may sound great at first and save a bunch of money; however, after the first problem occurs, and then the second, and so on, the low cost no longer looks so attractive.  

With Enterprise Storage so much more goes into the development, testing, and software integrations that really make this technology truly Enterprise class. This takes years of R&D, years of code development time and money invested, and beta testing with customers. Once a solution has been fully tested, it is packaged and delivered with professional installation services and 24 x 7 onsite support -- giving you peace of mind that Enterprise Class storage provides. 


Many High Availability servers need to have a shared Enterprise Class storage component to connect to each node in a cluster. This is to provide access to the data from all nodes. In a case where a host fails, the data would remain online. Server virtualization takes this cluster server model to the next level. Instead of one server or application running on each node of the cluster, each server can have 20 or 30 applications running at the same time. This puts more strain on the storage. Not only does it have to be highly available, but it also needs to perform to the level needed to support these additional applications. 

Some storage administrators connect servers to a storage network and present volumes from that storage directly to each server -- as physical blocks of storage. These storage networks are typically fiber channel or iSCSI. While others prefer to present network shared files via network file system (NFS) or server message block (SMB) / common internet file system (CIFS) to their servers.  Each has their use case. Understanding your requirements and the available technology to address those requirements will help make the right decision on which direction to go. 


There is also a trend where companies are looking at hyperconverged solutions to build out their storage network along with their compute all together-- making their IT infrastructure purely software-defined. This has its use cases as well as its limits.  One needs to research to determine which direction best fits your needs. 


Enterprise storage in today’s day and age, needs to be so much more.  Performance is necessary.  Availability is a given.  And of course, scalability, a must. More importantly, Enterprise storage must include features to simplify business continuance (e.g., Snapshot, replication, and cloud connectivity), as well as providing simplified management and tuning, and integration with the applications. In addition, it needs to be self-aware, self-monitoring, and able to resolve many of the problems that occur on its own -- all bundled together with an Enterprise Class support package. 


Benefit 1

Ability to design for the performance and availability that the applications require.

We are here to help. 

Nth Generation offers teams of tenured experts that provide the expertise and certifications needed to assist with your storage needs.   
Partner with Nth to determine:
Do I have the appropriate storage to meet my business needs? 
Am I using Enterprise Class Features to ensure the highest levels of uptime for my applications at the highest possible performance
Do I need to replicate my data offsite? To the cloud? 
Do I need all flash performance or is a hybrid solution better for me? 
Would Artificial Intelligence (AI) in my data storage be beneficial? 
Should I be running fiber channel, iSCSI, NAS, or DAS HCI for my data needs? 
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