With the high volumes of data companies generate, collect and need to store nowadays, storage is priority focus area – and increasingly so – even for small businesses.
Companies are also starting to see storage differently. Rather than just simply being a place to copy files, storage has become the cornerstone of effective high availability and disaster recovery.
“All manner of companies are now moving towards centralised storage. Without centralised storage, you just don’t get high availability or effective disaster recovery,” says Herman van Heerden, MD of Starship Systems, a local technology company which recently launched its own-built enterprise Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution, Nebula Enterprise NAS/SAN, which comprises controller technology and can be used in any environment, including virtualisation.
Van Heerden says there are other factors driving the increasing focus and spend on storage – the recession being one of them.
“Focusing limited IT spend on storage just seems to make good business sense. Compared with planning for new servers to carry additional load, investing in a NAS/SAN units, which simplify storage use, allocation and management, is a much more cost-effective way of keeping existing business servers running and allowing them to grow.
“Purchasing storage also gives companies a greater sense of value for money because it’s physical hardware. Companies can see the value in something that’s tangible. Software on the other hand, in the face of shrinking budgets, now has a question mark over whether or not it will really make a difference if it is implemented.
“Furthermore, with the advances in technology, even smaller businesses can have enterprise-size storage. The development of fast SATA and cheaper SAS technologies and the rapid growth of disk sizes allows for super fast and very cost effective storage units.”
Another catalyst for increased storage spending, according to van Heerden, is server virtualisation.
“Virtual environments are simply not viable without a sound networked storage solution to allocate space for services across multiple virtual machines. As the adoption of virtualisation technologies is widening, so the need for network storage solutions is growing,” he says.
He classifies network storage units into two categories; enterprise storage units that allow for high throughput, making them ideal for server virtualisation or carrying the heavy load for large databases or mail boxes, and desktop storage units, which run a little slower and are suited for data back-up.
Typically, the higher the price tag, the more redundancy is built into the unit, allowing it to cope with hardware failures, network failures and power outages. Although he points out that with smart planning, companies can overcome the limitations of smaller, non-redundant storage units.
“Desktop storage units can be, and are, used in the enterprise. With smart planning, for instance by adding more network cards, isolating network traffic to a single switch, and adding a number of units in an array, companies get the effect of enterprise storage but at a lower cost,” says van Heerden.
Starship System’s Nebula Enterprise NAS/SAN addresses the need for a centralised storage facility and controlling technology, without breaking the bank.