For most businesses today, the most valuable asset they have is data. To be able to optimize it’s full potential, information must be available to all who need it, which can be technically challenging especially in multiple office sites.
With the fast paced growth of the Internet and the need for continuous availability, duplicate copies and backing up of data is necessary for your business to function and prosper. To manage data storage, you need a scalable, efficient and effective storage solution that will increase your productivity and leverage your existing servers.
Is centralized storage for your company? NetCal can help configure the most cost-effective solution according to your requirements.
What is centralized storage?
Centralized storage allows for the consolidation of storage resources, whether at the file level or block level. This allows for an efficient use of storage since all servers can access the same pool of storage space. Management and backup of the storage data is also easier since it is centralized and viewed as a single storage space.
Benefits of Centralized storage
- Efficient use of storage resources
- Scalable storage
- High performance
Direct Attached Storage (D.A.S.)
Direct Attached Storage is the most common storage solution used, thus lowered costs. A traditional and less efficient storage model, it provides the slowest transfer rate bandwidth. Although downtime is usually required to install or add storage, this common method of connecting storage device(s) to the server is also the easiest to implement. Whether it’s through PATA, SATA, eSATA, SCSI, or SAS, Firewire, or USB, the disks can be installed internally or in a disk array. Unfortunately, it essentially ties the storage device to a particular server. The backup of data on these storage devices requires the use of a local tape drive, hard drive, or LAN access.
- Speed: Slowest
- Storage Mgmt: Difficult (amond multiple servers)
- Scalability: Low
- Costs: Low
- Complexity: Low
Network Attached Storage (N.A.S)
Network Attached Storage is the second most common storage solution for Small-Medium Businesses. In its basic definition, it is a server optimized for file sharing over the LAN. Unlike a complete server configuration, the OS is on a flash device and doesn’t require licensing fees for both the client and server. Setup and Management is usually provided through a simple web interface. Additionally, a network consisting of heterogeneous clients is typically supported. NAS solutions can also provide more advanced backup options, such as snapshots.
- Speed: Fast
- Storage Mgmt: Medium (amond multiple servers)
- Scalability: Medium
- Costs: Medium
- Complexity: Medium
Storage Area Network (S.A.N.)
Storage Area Networks are the most comprehensive centralized storage solution. It allows for true storage sharing since data is stored at the block level. This means applications, including the OS can directly access the storage device as if it was locally attached. Adding new storage devices is also allowed without disrupting access to existing resources. Due to being on its own network, backup bandwidth is often faster than the typical LAN and does not take away from LAN traffic.
iSCSI: The affordable SAN solution
In essence, iSCSI simply allows two hosts to negotiate and then exchange SCSI commands using IP networks. By doing this, iSCSI takes a popular high-performance local storage bus and emulates it over wide-area networks, creating a storage area network (SAN). Unlike some SAN protocols, iSCSI requires no dedicated cabling; it can be run over existing switching and IP infrastructure (Ethernet). As a result, iSCSI is often seen as a low-cost alternative to Fibre Channel, which requires dedicated infrastructure.
Although iSCSI can communicate with arbitrary types of SCSI devices, system administrators almost always use it to allow server computers (such as database servers) to access disk volumes on storage arrays. iSCSI SANs often have one of two objectives:
- Speed: Fast
- Storage Mgmt: Flexible
- Scalability: High
- Costs: High
- Complexity: High