Opinion: Storage environments the ensure data security is the one of choice

Chris Larkins from AxizWorkgroup gives us his view on storage environments and data security

August 30, 2011

Whether it is via mobile devices, databases or user generated, we are all generating a rapidly increasing amount of information and data around the globe. Chris Larkins, National PreSales Manager at AxizWorkgroup, says that it doesn’t matter where organisations are choosing to place this critical asset, as long as the environment of choice has the basics in place.

“A catastrophe for any organisation is when their storage limits their ability to do business,” says Larkins, “the chosen storage environment needs to provide relative performance, availability, security, modularity and most importantly ease of use and management.”  IT directors have got used to their day comprising of applications running out of capacity, viral videos overtaxing servers and missed deadlines to mention a few.  These directors are now looking to innovative technical features and trends to accommodate the rapidly increasing information volumes.

Larkins says that thin provisioning is one such technical feature.  He explains that this may not be a new concept but it is beginning to gain significant focus as a result of it being able to do more with less.  “The current economic climate has organisations watching costs even more closely than before and thin provisioning provides an important element in this situation,” says Larkins.  Another affirmation for this solution is that it allows companies to buy storage as and when they require it.  This enables users to take advantage of declining component costs, allows speedy response to changing business demands and maximises available funding.

Other storage solutions that are currently in the limelight include storage volume tiering and de-duplication.  Larkins says that as the value of data changes for organizations,  storage tiering provides the ability to move the data between disk types in the same logical volume ensuring that the most important and frequently used data is placed on drive technologies that provide the appropriate level of performance and availability.  “By being able to move less accessed data to a larger and lower cost drive, organisations will realise an improved return on their high cost storage investments,” says Larkins.  De-duplication on the other hand, traditionally used as a backup solution, is another method to store more on less physical capacity, thereby making it easier to move the data around.

“One of the most interesting spaces to watch in South Africa is the bandwidth challenge,” says Larkins.  “As providers make improved data bandwidth available at reduced costs we will see an increase in storage opportunities, unlocking public, private or hybrid cloud opportunities with multi-tenant capable devices.  There is no doubt that this development will bring with it a cost effective disaster recovery and data availability solution.

The industry is moving away from large form factor drives and fibre channel drives towards small form factor SAS based drives and systems while capacity points continue to increase with declining costs resulting in more value for clients.

Larkins says that one of the newer trends is FCoE.  This solution has allowed for storage traditionally accessed by using fibre channel components in the enterprise environment, to now be connected using Ethernet standards.  FCoE leverages these traditional Ethernet skills making management easier.

When considering these technologies it is important for organisations that their chosen solution enables them to create structures swiftly and straightforwardly, move data around, back-up, replicate and most importantly that they are able to present the data.  In conclusion Larkins says that as more data is generated, the more it needs to be made readily available, to allow users access to the information effectively and efficiently. “Ensuring that this is information is available is of utmost importance.”

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