There’s good news for companies considering outsourcing their data storage: It’s getting cheaper.
Storage outsourcing is a popular choice for many organizations and businesses as data generation increases almost exponentially. Companies are particularly interested in outsourced emergency backup and disaster recovery options. In the past, high technology costs for storage rendered outsourced options prohibitively expensive; but that is changing as costs are now driven more by management skills and tools rather than the price of technology.
The decrease in technology costs is a result of several factors, including:
— A shift toward disk storage rather than more expensive tape or off-site options
— Lower media costs for solid-state drives
— More efficient management tools
— Open standards and common application program interfaces (APIs) that allow for more flexible capacity and integration of cloud options
— Options that store unstructured data
The shift toward more efficient but increasingly complex storage options is creating some additional costs related to the skills and training required to manage these options. Other complicating factors include various compliance demands, security considerations, the need for frequent retrieval, and life cycle management.
One often overlooked issue with storage is that at any given time, many unstructured files should be archived because they are rarely needed. Tape storage options are ideal for archiving, while disk storage is better for files that will be accessed more frequently.
Companies frequently find that their storage performance needs fluctuate, necessitating implementation of management tools that can automate the management process. Emerging unified storage products offer simple tools that allow one-stop management of Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS). Software-defined storage is also a growing trend, allowing companies to virtualize storage.
Formulate a Strategy
In order to make the best use of the available options, including outsourced storage, it is crucial to make a storage plan. The following items should be considered when formulating a strategy:
— Preferred storage tools, including well-established options and emerging technologies
–Performance, availability, and capacity requirements
–Tiering based on usage patterns
–What files can be stored on lower performing and less accessible but more cost-efficient media like tape
–How much control should remain in house and what can be outsourced
A successful storage strategy, therefore, will first examine how much and what type of data is generated, how often access is needed, and what internal and outsourced management options are available to meet the company’s needs. Understanding life cycles is crucial to creating the best possible plan.
Emerging cloud options are usually part of an end-to-end management plan for all phases of IT rather than being storage specific. Companies should be aware that moving files to and from the cloud often incurs a fee. Understanding requirements when moving to cloud storage solutions will help avoid unforeseen costs.
New technologies have great potential to create the efficiencies companies are looking for when managing their skyrocketing storage needs. The key to getting the most out of these technologies is understanding the business’s data storage needs and which technology and outsourced options best fit those requirements.
Contact us to explore your data storage needs and the best solutions to meet them.