How To Tackle Corporate Data Storage

Requirements for storing business data continue to skyrocket with no end in sight. When you consider the increasing amount of information required for day to day work, long term storage to meet auditing requirements, and the massive storage requirements for customer data analysis, demands for storing data have never been higher. How can a company ensure that the right people have access to the right data – at the right time? How can they do this without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas to help you get off on the right foot.


Identify the Type of Storage Needed

My recommendation for most companies is to mimic the best information distribution system humans have come up with to date, the Internet. We now have systems that are robust, fairly simple to setup, and most importantly, searchable. Applications like Wikis, or Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, provide companies with built-in Intranets that are ready to disseminate information through Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Providing storage can then direct its focus from needing to map drives to everyone’s desktop to managing the database size for the application. When thinking about storage requirements, it’s best to think high-level first, and then think through the technical details of the solution. Once you’ve identified the type of storage you need, deciding on a solution becomes much easier.


Keep Your Data In-House

In the past, when you started running out of data space you would simply upgrade your hard drive to a bigger size. When that was no longer feasible, large complex environments were devised that would do the same basic thing, but abstract the physical disk away from the local machine, which allowed for online expansion of the available disk space. This process would give you more gigabytes, but it didn’t provide a means for identifying the data that you were looking for when you needed it. If you know you need a central place to store Microsoft Office documents, a Storage Area Network, especially with a Network Attached Storage license, is a simple, if not low cost, option for traditional data centers.


Cloud Storage Case Study: Amazon

Many modern companies are moving their computing environments to the cloud. One type of cloud storage that has a significant presence is Amazon Cloud Services. With seemingly unlimited storage and compute resources, Amazon provides a programmable infrastructure to dynamically allocate computing resources on demand. However, similar to keeping storage in a house, simply providing a place for your data doesn’t necessarily solve the underlying problem of how to get the data when you need it. If you know for sure that you simply need somewhere to put data for later retrieval, Amazon S3 is an inexpensive and relatively bullet-proof place to keep it.  For long term storage (especially for archived logs or records only kept for auditing or historical reference purposes) Amazon Glacier is an even less expensive option and is purposely built for long-term cold storage.


Consider Your Data’s Purpose, Format, & Requirements

As the requirements for data storage continue to increase, the solutions available will continue to become more specialized. Throwing Word documents, images, PDF files, and plain text logs into a Windows share can make it difficult to have important information available when you need it the most. Thinking more about the purpose, format, and requirements of the data you are storing will help you make the best data storage decisions, and it will also put your company in the best position for the future.