Data Storage - Mix well for best results

Different kinds of data storage do different things, so getting the best out of them means combining the right mix of technologies. Alex Meehan speaks to Sandra Dunne, sales manager with Logicalis, about her approach to recommending data storage solutions to clients.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for data storage.

In an ideal world, setting up a data storage system for your business would be easy. You’d look at your needs, identify the best solution, install it and away you’d go. In reality, that’s not how things tend to work.

To begin with, growth for companies isn’t linear. It happens in fits and starts, in peaks and troughs, and the technology installed over time to support the typical business tends to be an organic mix of what’s available and what’s affordable.

The end result is that the average company has bits of this and bits of that in terms of infrastructure, with IT teams tasked with managing this mish-mash as best they can.

For Sandra Dunne, sales manager for Logicalis, a key issue in deciding what kind of storage to go for and advising clients is knowing what it will be used for.

“When our customers are choosing a form of data storage, regardless of whether they are a small, medium or large company, we advise them to look first at what they require for their environment. What levels of data protection do they need and how portable or applicable is that data – where does it need to be accessed from?” she said.

The reason is that some companies operate data centres and have lots of edge locations, and others have small regional offices that need to access data remotely but not at speed. This will impact the kind of storage they need and data manageability and portability are big issues, along with acceptability from the customer perspective.

“You need to be able to put your data somewhere. People talk about SANS, NAS, Hybrid, software-defined and so on, and it can all get quite overwhelming. So instead of starting with solutions, we ask the question, ‘What do you want to do with that data?’” said Dunne,

“How available does it need to be and how protected does it need to be? The technology flows from the answers to those questions, and those are some important considerations.”

On top of these, companies usually want to know that the data storage solution they pick is as flexible and as cost efficient as possible.

“All customers have a requirement to store their data but each customer’s specific needs will be a little bit different. The key question is always: what do you want to do with that data? Today, most organisations for example want to run analytics and other tools that allow them to predict different aspects of their business, depending on their industry and so on,” said Dunne.

This means that they need a way to efficiently make data available to staff and partners wherever they happen to be. At the same time, this data needs to be protected.

This article was first published in the Business Post on the 5th of July 2020.