Efficiency of management and security of a data storage system (DSS) directly affect the performance of companies of different scales, ranging from start-ups to large corporations of federal outreach. The selection of a specific solution must be based on the tasks to be addressed, types of the information used by the entity (unstructured files, big data, DBMS, archives, back-up copies, media and many others), as well as the required information processing speed. The currently available DSS differ in the level of storage, network access type, fault tolerance and some other parameters that must be taken into account when choosing the best option.
The way in which a data storage system differs from regular hard disks
SSD - a storage device, or hybrid solutions, SSD and HDD-disks can be used as information media. The data storage systems differ from a custom hard drive in their ability to connect to a single network, network connectivity, file management software, and more sophisticated architecture.
Types of data storage system by access levels
Previously, corporations could avail themselves of two basic types of data storage system integration: SAN (storage area network) and NAS (network-attached storage). Lately, companies are opting to install their S3 object storage facilities increasingly often. Despite the similarity of the wording in the names, the three types are essentially different, as they view and manage the information differently.
File storage NAS
This type of data storage system is suitable for storing the information that is not used in operation and does not require a high response rate during processing. Such data is placed in catalogues in the form of files. Only several users have access to such files that are managed by means of several protocols that differentiate the rights and the abilities. NAS is used when it is necessary to create local backup copies without transferring the data to the cloud systems. Nevertheless, this data storage system has a shortcoming, in the sense that the system is not fit for large data arrays. With the number of files growing, the hierarchy is gradually becoming more complex, and the system speed gradually slows down.
Block storage SAN
The data is placed in the form of logical blocks on discs that all together build a network. The data is assigned relevant identifiers that allow the users to rapidly and conveniently retrieve the relevant information. This approach accelerates the input/output process. SAN is suitable to be used as an environment for a product, or the storage of large volumes of data that can be classified according to categories. One of the shortcomings of the DSS is the high cost of integration and the complexity of its servicing that requires a specific level of professional qualification.
Object storage S3
Object storage S3 is designed to process large arrays of unstructured information: back-ups, video surveillance files, big data, hosting websites, attachment data, data lakes and IoT devices. This solution is actively used for analytical purposes, machine learning, building neural networks and large data bases, and is suitable for developers and IT-teams. The volumes of the data stores can reach several petabytes. Due to the possibility of hosting a large array of unstructured information, S3 is a more efficient tool than the global cloud systems.
Unlike the previous data storage systems, S3-drives store information in the form of objects that are assigned unique metadata and identifiers. They are accessed not by users, but by connected apps. This type of data storage has only one shortcoming: when executing tasks with transaction loads, it lags behind SAN in terms of processing speed.
Different data storage systems use their custom connection types.
File NAS-servers connect to local networks. Access to the storage drive is arranged using CIFS or NFS protocols. This solution operates using shared routers and switches that run on top of the existing local network. The solution will not allow remote access but saves form the necessity to transfer the files to external environments.
This option is used when installing SAN and S3. The shared network of storage drives is suitable for the integration of storage drives of different types. These can include tape arrays, disks, and optical drives. In this case, the operational system managing the files views the structure as a single logical storage drive. Access to the blocks and the objects can be obtained from a difference geographic location, which provides for a possibility of remote work.
Small companies and start-ups often find NAS devices sufficient for the storage of their data and backup copies. Small businesses, however, most often employ data storage system of models such as Dell PowerVault (ME4), HPE MSA и IBM Flashsystem. Those entities, the efficiency of which depends on the efficiency of their IT infrastructure and the speed of data transfers, should consider employing solutions of SAN type or hybrid storage system, in order to ensure sufficient flexibility. As a rule, medium-size and large companies opt for Dell SC (Compellent) and Unity, HPE 3Par and Nimble or IBM Flashsystem.
In the case that a company operates large arrays of unstructured information, and uses abilities of artificial intelligence and machine training, the S3 system is the best option. Completely AWS-3 compatible object storage drive is now available at DEAC data centers, in addition being even more cost-effective than on global cloud servers. If you have any doubts as to which of the solutions best suits the needs of your business, please seek professional advice from the experts at DEAC. Specialists will take the specifics of your company’s operations into account and will offer the most cost-effective and best performing system for storing your corporate data.