Organizations large and small face the same data management challenges as the amount of data they generate continues to grow exponentially. In fact, IDC predicts worldwide data creation will grow to an enormous 175 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025. That’s roughly ten times the amount of data that was produced in 2017.
Many of these organizations face huge hurdles as they struggle to meet massively increasing storage requirements while staying within tight budgets. Legacy onsite storage systems are often expensive to scale, and the cost of a forklift upgrade may be prohibitive.
That’s when a scale-out storage solution is worth considering. For those unfamiliar with the term, here’s a simple definition from Tech Target: Scale-out storage is network-attached storage (NAS) where the amount of disk space can be expanded by adding more drives to individual storage clusters, and where you can add more clusters as needed.
Why consider scale-out storage? The Enterprise Storage Guide says scale-out storage offers a simpler financial model that lets you buy the storage you need, when you need it, without incurring huge upfront capital costs. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons scale-out storage is a good choice, and the features you should look for in a solution.
Cloud Storage Isn’t Perfect
Budget concerns are pushing cloud storage forward as an important element of many IT architectures because it offers lower costs and easy scalability. But it’s important to be aware of the limitations and risks of cloud security.
A recent Forbes survey found that 60 percent of organizations don’t understand the shared responsibility model as to who secures data and workloads in the cloud. Customers may have a false sense of security in their cloud providers, and Forbes goes on to predict that cloud environments will become a bigger target for cyberattacks in 2020. Read your own cloud providers’ user agreement and here’s what you’ll likely find: The data owner (that’s you) is liable for losses resulting from a data breach, even if the security failures are the fault of the data holder (that’s your cloud service provider). Ultimately, it’s your problem, so to fully protect your data you need more than the cloud.
Scale-Out Storage is the Answer
So, what’s the best strategy for meeting your storage demands while ensuring your data is backed up, secure, and easy to restore? For many organizations, a hybrid solution that combines onsite and cloud storage with backups offers the scalability they need. For others, onsite storage with backups replicated to a secure, offsite server may be suitable. Regardless of the strategy you choose, scale-out storage is a critical element to consider if you want to be certain that you can meet your future data storage requirements.
Storage Should Scale Seamlessly
Look for a scale-out storage solution that eliminates the costs of over-provisioning and forklift upgrades. More sophisticated solutions provide the ability to expand storage dynamically while scaling incrementally. That gives you the flexibility to add a single drive at a time or even multiple nodes within a cluster as your needs grow. And make sure you can add storage without having to reconfigure your data management application, as that will save hours of IT time.
Unified Solutions Eliminate Operational Complexity
Solutions that unify the entire storage management and data protection stack into a single, integrated infrastructure should be near the top of your list. That will simplify operations and eliminate management of disparate (and often siloed) infrastructure units. Give yourself even more flexibility by choosing a storage solution that can accommodate both primary and secondary workloads.
Optimize Workflows, Simplify Data Management
Choosing a scale-out storage solution that provides a single, unified management workflow for the complete data protection lifecycle, including backup and disaster recovery (BDR), is best. A solution with “set it and forget it” SLA-based, policy-driven protection and management will make it even easier to ensure that all of your data is recoverable within your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
Taking this approach simplifies management while giving you visibility and insights into service levels. It also delivers insights into the status of stored data by consolidating storage management, local backups, onsite and offsite replication, and disaster recovery onto a single platform.
Data Reduction Minimizes Storage Costs
Be sure to add a scale-out storage architecture that includes powerful data reduction technologies like inline deduplication and compression to your list of must-have storage features. These technologies deliver high data reduction ratios—as much as 5:1—that can quickly reduce your storage costs and operational expenses.
Make Backup and Disaster Recovery a Key Component
A study by cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes found that one in five small businesses shut down after being hit by a ransomware attack, so it’s important to choose a solution that can beat those odds. Look for solutions that offer continuous data protection, and make online recovery of previous versions of individual files—or your entire data set—easy and available in seconds from space-optimized snapshots.
StorageCraft’s converged scale-out storage solution, OneXafe, offers best-in-class performance that meets all of the above criteria, adding a new level of security and recoverability to your data architecture. If you’re curious how OneXafe’s TCO compares to other solutions, get a TCO analysis here.