The best data storage methods for business
It does not matter whether your business is big or small; data still plays a central role in your success. Forbes reports that 59% of businesses use data analytics to make better decisions and improve performance.
As businesses continuously collect and create huge volumes of data, there is an increased need for effective data management solutions to improve accessibility, security, accuracy, and usability. Regulatory measures also mandate that business data is retained for longer periods, making data storage and management a critical and challenging task. 79% of IT professionals struggle with managing storage growth as data storage requirements grow at 40% yearly.
Data storage is not a complicated process. However, with different data storage types and options available, it can be confusing to pick the right one for your business. Still, every business needs a data storage plan, and the common types available can be broadly categorized as private, public, and hybrid data storage.
Private data storage
In this model, the entire infrastructure for storing data is hosted privately within a business’ own intranet or data center using privately dedicated resources. The key aspect of private storage is that it is entirely isolated from other organizations. It is also referred to as in-house or on-premise storage, and you are responsible for overseeing all functions, such as server maintenance and management. There are three types of private data storage:
Direct attached storage (DAS)
This is one of the most affordable and widely used data storage options. Chances are that you have already used it, knowingly or unknowingly. Think of your laptop’s DAS drive, an external hard drive, and a USB drive directly connected to a device. Similarly, this business data storage model involves directly connecting to servers, computers, and other devices to create a storage network. However, it has major downsides, such as difficulty expanding the storage requirements, limited physical security, and difficulty sharing data.
Network-attached storage (NAS)
In this plan, a storage device is connected to a network that supports data storage and retrieval from a central location for authorized network users. It functions like an on-site private cloud that your business has total control over. The model makes it easy for teams to access data remotely as long as they have a network connection and are authenticated. NAS storage provides data resiliency through a RAID configuration that makes multiple drives appear like a single unit.
Storage areas network (SAN)
This on-site centralized data storage plan interconnects and links storage systems to different servers. It creates a shared pool of storage space that allows users to access data as if the storage device was directly attached to their PCs. SAN storage accelerates storage facilities since it is a collection of several interconnected computers. In case of a disruption, it creates an alternate path by minimizing the workload. However, setting up the storage is expensive and complex compared to the two other private data storage methods.
Public data storage
Storing data on-site may seem the safest choice, but it can be very expensive, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. In pursuing more efficient and scalable data storage plans, many organizations turn to public data storage, commonly known as cloud storage. All your business data is moved to a remote data center, where you can access it anytime and anywhere via the internet.
Cloud Storage – public version
This is public cloud storage purchased from a third-party vendor. Examples are Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud. This model is as straightforward as visiting the vendor’s website or installing an app on your computer or mobile device to gain access to files. It frees you from complex setups and regular maintenance.
This rental service allows enterprises to store their servers and other essential hardware for daily operations. Colocation services provide shared, secure spaces in cool and monitored environments suitable for servers while overseeing all the necessary maintenance responsibilities. Colocation data storage is highly reliable with minimal downtime and offers enhanced security compared to other data storage methods.
Hybrid data storage
Hybrid data storage combines private and public storage options to maximize the benefits of both. Your on-site IT team or an outsourced data storage management provider can oversee the hybrid data storage. Leveraging a hybrid storage solution means your data is replicated and available to you anytime. You also do not have to worry in the event of a disaster such as a fire, malware attack, or hardware failure.
Cloud Storage – hybrid version
This solution combines on-premise private data storage with private and public cloud services. It is highly customizable and can easily adapt to the changing needs of your business. Its biggest downside is the costs associated with set-up and maintenance.
This relatively new data storage method relies on flash storage and predictive analytics. Like the flash or solid-state drive technology in devices such as smartphones, laptops, and servers, Nimble is built to reduce risk, improve reliability and maximize the productivity of your business infrastructure and IT teams.
Which is the best data storage method for your business?
There is no standard one-fits-all storage solution for business. It all depends on your specific use case and business requirements. Therefore, the first step in determining which storage method suits you best is to evaluate your data, how you wish to access that data and how often. You will also need to develop an IT infrastructure strategy that highlights the best data storage type based on your requirements.