C-Stack Series: What is Storage?
Computer storage is, in its most abbreviated form, where data is stored. Although the definition of storage is simple enough, storage is one of the most critical, and sometimes under appreciated, pieces in your entire infrastructure.
For many beginning end users, storage is something inherent in their laptops and computers. If they need more storage, they purchase external hard drives, USB flash drives, or (a little archaically) CD’s. While these options might be practical enough for a single end-user, these forms of storage are far from the breed that’s needed to power an entire organization.
The History of Storage
Enterprise storage has survived many incarnations through the years, with the earliest forms of primitive storage originating in the 1700’s. A textile worker managed to use a simple punch card as a rudimentary memory card to automatically control the processes of the looms. The instructions on the punch card guided the looms to implement patterns with automation.
Clearly, enterprise storage has come a long way, but the premise of using an external tool for memory and automation is the backbone of the concept of external storage. Check out the evolution of storage in this short video:
Modern enterprise storage, as we know it today, entered the scene in 2008 with SSD’s, or solid-state drives. The first SSD’s held 64GB of storage. They were the standard model for enterprise until the demands of increasing data growth, data protection, virtual, and cloud infrastructure changed what IT demanded of storage.
The storage model that fits the needs of the modern enterprise is flash optimized storage. It combines the capacity of disk storage, but offers the speed, performance, and resilience of flash arrays.
How Enterprise Storage Works – The File Cabinet Analogy
As an end-user, everything you do on your computer is sent from your device, to the server, and then into storage. Enterprise storage is intelligent enough to determine the importance of your data, and it will “file it away” based on its importance.
Mission critical data is filed away in hot storage for quicker access. Data that is not as important, like old email files, is stored in cold data.
In the file cabinet analogy, your data is a literal file folder, enterprise storage is the file cabinet, and the server is the door to the file.
- You need to put a file into the filing cabinet.
- You have to go through the door to enter the file room. Like a server, the door controls the flow of data in and out of storage.
- You enter the file room with your folder, and your “intelligent storage” is labeled on the drawers. You match the type of data you’re holding (the file folder) to the appropriate filing drawer in the file cabinet.
- More important files are in the top drawers for easy access, and less important files are at the hard-to-reach lower drawers.
In this analogy, your storage solution allows you to free up clutter at your desk and be a more efficient worker. At the same time, it organizes critical company information and is protected by a door, the server.
This brings up the question: how do you keep the file folders safe from intruders?
How Encryption Works
You don’t need us to tell you how prolific the data breaches in 2014 were. Specs, Home Depot, Target, JP Morgan Chase, and Neiman Marcus all fell victim to some form of data breach, and the target of many of these attacks were the organization’s data-at-rest. C-Stack recommends a storage solution with a distinct feature: encryption.
Encryption convert data into a secret format that can’t be read by unauthorized parties, and each set of encrypted data needs its unique matching key. In the file cabinet analogy, encryption is like using a key card to enter the door into the file room. Only authorized keycards will grant the user access to the data in the file cabinet.
Why You Need Enterprise Storage
Now to address the final question: what is storage? Enterprise storage is the foundation that supports every aspect of your business. Without it, your business would be relying exclusively on unreliable and unscalable external storage methods. Your primary storage has many core responsibilities:
- Secure repository for your data
- Provides encryption for your data-at-rest
- Helps applications run quickly with little latency
- Supports your disaster recovery/business continuity plans
- Provides scalable solution that grows with your business
- Supports virtual and hybrid infrastructures
The modern infrastructure would be crippled without enterprise storage. Centre specializes in creating best-of-breed storage solutions that flex to the needs of your business. Contact us for a free storage assessment.
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About the Author
Centre Technologies is a full-service IT consulting and managed services provider headquartered in Texas, with a focus on mid-sized businesses. As a trusted IT partner for well over a decade, Centre is recognized for its local experience and enterprise-grade cloud and cybersecurity solutions. Centre is committed to helping organizations harness the power of technology to maximize their operational efficiency and exceed their business goals. Learn more about Centre Technologies »