Addressing Storage Network
As the amount of data needing to be processed grows, storage has become the most critical and vulnerable element of the data centre and organisations need to look closely at how to build and support the infrastructure to access the most important of digital assets – data.
The main purpose of a data centre is to run applications and store data within an enterprise or the cloud. Video streaming applications, together with video gaming and business applications, have expanded rapidly reaching levels of adoption beyond any initial expectation. As a result, the amount of data that is being processed has grown significantly, fuelled by a global economy that requires data access at all times from all locations.
As the amount of data needing to be processed grows, storage has become the most critical and vulnerable element of the data centre. Layer on top of this the need for agile response to changing user and application needs and it’s easy to understand why a well-designed storage-area network is essential to the operation of all data centres. Organisations must look closely at how to build and support the infrastructure to access the most important of digital assets – data.
Storage virtualisation is the amalgamation of multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage unit. However, choosing these storage components for virtual infrastructures can be challenging. Traditional Direct-Attach Storage (DAS) deployments have been preferred in the past for their low cost of ownership. However, since applications have become more complex and the need for flexibility has become more relevant, there has been a migration towards more centralised approaches. For this reason, Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Networks (SAN) have become more predominant as they also help reduce the amount of hardware and cabling infrastructure.
DAS is the most basic level of storage, consisting of a typical storage device that directly attaches to a server or workstation. Although simple to design, DAS has an increased risk of downtime, low utilisation of storage capacity, and limited scalability – not ideal for any business anticipating rapid data growth. As such, enterprises have migrated towards more centralised approaches, such as NAS and SAN.
In addition to traditional storage architectures, cloud computing is becoming an ever greater reality and raises important questions and challenges for the storage community. Computing services, platforms, software and applications that would traditionally have been located on an organisation’s network are migrating from the enterprise to the cloud. The goal is to enable access to both computing power and applications wherever and whenever they are needed, which represents a fundamental change to the enterprise IT model.