Nowadays, data is the lifeblood for today’s digital organization. The integrity, availability and the protection of the date are vital to a business productivity and successfulness, therefore storage solutions are still the priority in IT budgets.
G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd currently is facing a storage problem. Their storage system performance’s bottlenecks having a serious impact on their business productivity. The sluggish primary storage performance and maintenance issue were slowing down the company’s response to customer request which affecting the overall business productivity. Besides, their backup solution was becoming difficult to effectively protect date within ever shrinking back up window. Thus G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd now needed to search for a secondary storage which can solve all the problems. They require a storage that can optimize storage response time, ensure disaster recovery, implement a highly solution and the most important is to ensure a better access to customer date and protect more than 100TB of data without adding heavy cost and complex management.
The era of data and information clearly shows that there is a rising demand for more storage. There are a numbers of options available in the market. The most prevalent would be direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN). There is no one is the best for everyone. It is important to focus on the specific needs and the business goals of the organization. Therefore, there are several factors to consider which include capacity, performance, reliability, data protection and budget concerns.
We will look into that in more detail later. Many people will argue that SAN are more powerful that NAS, but for G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd, I suggest that the Network Attached Storage (NAS) would be the most suitable storage solution to solve their storage problems. The factors that affecting of choose a secondary storage will be discussed in the next section. NAS is a data storage systems with a specialized hardware and software attached to a network. NAS products is an information data storage server, they have converged to serve all in one servers for date based applications. A NAS is to provide storage and access to data.
Picture 1.1 show the Network-attached storage.
2.0 Factors affecting of choosing a secondary storage
A storage solution can be defined as a hardware whose main function is to store and sharing data or information. There are many types of storage with many different functions. The storage for business usually is in the form of servers. To choose a right storage for your business, there are several factors that need to be considering when choosing storage which include reliability, capacity and scalability, the budget concern.
The first factor that need to taken into consideration when choosing storage is the capacity of the storage. It is very important that we should very clear that what is the size and scope of the data that you want to store and what capacity is needed to store it? The firm should choose the storage which suitable for the organization or business purpose and functions. The firm should also consider the types of data to store and the frequency of access the data when choosing a storage. NAS systems can provide many terabytes of storage in high density.
G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd is a consulting firm which provides services in finance and business strategy to leading law firms and government agencies. They have a lot of date that need to store and share with customer which some of it might sensitive. Therefore it is suggested that they should choose a file-level storage. A NAS device is a single storage unit best suited for file-level storage connected directly to network. NAS often configures especially for file- sharing.
Performance & Speed
Different storage will have different return rate of speeds for data. If the date store is monthly use, means that you no need the fastest storage; if the date store will be use very frequently, is better to choose the fast performance storage. Knowing this can help you save in cost. A business normally will look for a better file access speed. G&J Consultation might need a fast performance storage since they are providing consultant services to customers which the date stored might be use frequently and need to response to customers very quickly. Transfer speed over the network is the primary indicator of a NAS because it uses file-level protocol when uploading or downloading large files. NAS can provide performance benefits. For example, NAS can take over the work of serving the email data, freeing resources on the email server for email-specific processes.
Scalability is important in terms of both computing power and storage capacity. The performance and capacity should scale independently of one another. Scalability is important because the ability of the storage would need to be expanded in future in order to cope with increased use. NAS is a suitable storage which suggested for G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd because it is easy to set up and easy to use, even a non IT based staff can manage the NAS.
Reliability of storage also is one of the factors which is very important and need to be concerned. Reliability is important because the loss of data and downtime can lead to loss in revenue and threaten the survival of the business. In today’s world, most of the people demand a highly reliability, shared storage device that is accessible to multiple network devices.
NAS is the newer version of storage after DAS (data-attached storage), it use of highest-performing drives with premium components that been qualified to extreme premium environment. NAS is suitable for G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd since it produce the most reliable and highest-performance data storage solution. NAS is same reliable with normal server. From the storage functional system, concepts are equally. They both can act as server. Even lower end NAS systems have the high reliability features such as RAID and hot swappable drives and components.
Cost or budget concern
Usually is the main concern of an organization to purchase a certain products or services. Cost in here not only means the equipment cost, but management and maintenance cost as well. Management and maintenance cost at here meaning that the cost to maintain the storage, the cost to hire the IT consultant to give training on the ways to use the storage and so on. G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd is having a storage problem and they want to buy a suitable storage which can help them solve the problem they are facing currently without adding heavy cost for their business. Here, it is suggested to the firm that network-attached storage (NAS) would be a suitable storage solution which is less expensive if compare to others. The management and maintenance cost is lower also because NAS is easy to set up and easy to use.
The firms have a lot of date and some of the data might be sensitive which relate to legal need to be store and share between customers, thus data protection can be one of the factors that need to be taking into consideration also. NAS provides data protection benefits in data protection plan and provide redundant storage for sensitive data. Every NAS appliance includes user security to allow or restrict file access based on username and passwords.
Management here means the administrator who in charge of the storage solution. He need to be aware of the challenges that might be arise for the solution and consider what are the monitoring tools are available to monitor performance and warn for the possible failures. The storage should not be too complex to manage in order to save the cost of management and maintenance.
3.0 Advantages of seeking a higher performing storage
A secondary storage device for computers are not only for storing back up files, they also allow computers users to expand their ability to transfer a large amounts of data from one computer to another. For G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd, as I mention earlier, the suggested storage that most suitable if the Network Attached Storage (NAS). There are several advantages of seeking a higher performing storage which suggested here.
The capacity of the secondary storage is very high that allow us to store a large amount of data. We can store the data into the secondary storage in the form of gigabyte and terabytes. In that case, we can back up the all data easily and need not worry for losing data. Usually an organization will have plenty of data that need to be stored to support the business operations. For this, the primary storage would not be able to do it. NAS provide an efficient of sharing a large individual files among individual users. NAS can store and manage the data up to terabytes level. Besides, NAS allowed us to add more storage without shutting down the network.
Reliability & Security
It is considered safe that storing data into the secondary storage. The data can be store in the secondary storage which is the NAS in permanent form. Therefore the firm no needs to worry of loss of data or lack of data even after many years later. NAS provide data protection benefits so that it is safe to store the sensitive data. This is one of the advantages by choosing NAS because G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd is handle highly sensitive data. The data stored on live database server will be stored to NAS in the same time so that the data will exist even if the database server faced physical failure.
The computer could have a better performance with adding a secondary storage. This can help users to increase the speed of storing data, access data or transferring data which indirectly increase the productivity of the firm. With a secondary storage, the computer of the organization can fully operate effectively. Performance of serving files can be increase by a NAS because NAS included file-system storage. NAS is a system used for storing files in a central location, accessible through a network, so that other computer systems can store and retrieve the data files.
The date store in the secondary storage can be accessed easily and immediately. The data can share with others such as customers very easily and convenient. This can increase the productivity of the organization and contribute to gain profit for the organization. NAS is a server which has the dual function of application serving and files sharing and provides a lot of flexibility in data access by virtue of being independently. The utility rate of NAS is high because the storage is shared across multiple servers. Multiple NAS systems or devices can be manage by a central and then it can conserving the time and resources,
The cost of a secondary storage is cheaper than adding the memory of the computer. For G&J Consultation Sdn Bhd, NAS is suggested to them as their secondary storage rather than a SAN. SAN requires the purchase of a Fibre Channel which is very expensive; NAS requires a standard Ethernet NIC which is much cheaper. This indirectly reduces the cost for storage devices. Furthermore, SAN is very hard to understand, it will cause the management and the maintenance cost increase; however NAS is easy to understand and easy to maintain, indirectly reduces the cost of management and maintenance for the firm. NAS is a simple and cost-effective way to achieve fast data access for multiple clients at the file level.
4.0 Disadvantages of seeking a higher performing storage
There is nothing perfect in this world; there is no any storage which is the best. A secondary storage has several advantages and of course has several of disadvantages.
NAS can be used by many computers on a network. When everyone is trying to access the device at the same time, it might lead to overwhelmed. This could happen because of the limitation of network bandwidth, and the processing power within the device. When there is a large amount of users simultaneously access data, it will create the bottlenecks on the local area network and server. Besides, NAS device could become a single point of failure. To solve this issue, those important files across multiple units should be distribute, schedule and run regular remote backup routines.
Financial Budget concern
Getting a higher performance of storage, in other words that is one of the expenses cost for the Organization. No matter how valuable is the storage, it still will affect the financial budgeting for the organization for short term. The organization needs to allocate fund for the storage equipment cost, and also for the maintenance and management cost of the storage. This is just a very short term disadvantages because advantages of the secondary storage will contributes profits to the organization and then can cover the cost of getting the storage.
The staffs of the organization might need times to understand and make use of the secondary storage. The administrator would first study and understand in detail for the storage then he might need to give training to the staffs in order for them to know how to operate and maximize the usage of the storage. This is important because if the secondary storage not fully utilize by the organization would be wastage for the organization.
However this might take some times to completely educate everyone in the organization to fully utilize the storage and it is hard to ensure whether the storage has been fully utilized. There will be a wastage and loss of money for the organization if the users of the organization not able to use the storage. That is no point of spending an amount of money for the organization to buying a powerful product but no one can fully utilize it.
We can back up the data by NAS but because NAS is file-level storage, which means transferring data and storing data is by file-level. If users have millions of small files, it could be a problem to back up the data because NAS will store the data by file name. NAS cannot do image-level backup and cannot serve raw device. Besides, NAS is difficult to backup the data to tape.
Large block of data
A NAS is not able to move a large block of data which is important for bandwidth-intensive applications such as imaging, database or transaction processing. NAS does not offer fast data transfer while reducing input/output latency or server workloads. NAS also not provide high volume transaction processing especially the companies that conduct business on the web. Same with the backup issues, if the user has millions of small file that want to store or share to another, NAS is not an option to do that. The only way to solve this without adding budget to seeking for the other storage is adding the capacity of the NAS, since the scalability of NAS is high but of course it has its limit.
Digital assets will only continue to growth rapidly in the future. It is important to choose the right storage and to implement technologies that based on the industry standard which can minimize the interoperability concerns and provides long term investment protection for the organization.