Ready For a Storage Area Network?

Servers and data storage are a mundane topic for most executives; especially when their primary focus should be on running a profitable business.  Storage Area Networks (SAN) have declined rapidly in price and are no longer a technology for the largest corporations.  Today’s small and medium businesses (SMB) can leverage this technology to create a more flexible computing environment and reduce server costs.

If you are still buying servers with a single purpose, such as — SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint — you are wasting money on hard drives and RAID arrays that can easily double or triple your server costs.  In comparison, an SMB SAN allows you to logically group the hard drives for all your servers into one or two devices that can be connected to all of your servers — providing higher disk performance, higher availability, and faster recovery time in the event of a catastrophic server failure.

By separating the storage from the traditional server (CPU, memory, and network adapters) you increase storage efficiency by only allocating the amount of storage currently required for the server and gain the ability to add storage on the fly.  For instance, if your SQL server demands more disk space – click to allocate it. Or, if your Exchange server has recently archived much of your old email to another system – reduce the amount of disk available to Exchange and increase its performance.

Many departments such as engineering, can go through periods of large storage growth when a new project or New Year approaches.  A SAN allows you to add additional drives on the fly and then allocate them to any server that requires it.  No more surprise IT requests to get a larger server because the current server is maxed out.

Server failure with local RAID arrays are a thing of the past.  When a SAN connected server fails, simply attach the storage on the SAN to a new or backup server and bring your business back online quickly.  No more waiting for tape libraries, and cloud based services to restore all the data to a new server, which can spell two to three days of down time.

What does it cost? That depends on your storage requirements and the number of servers you would like to connect.  A small SAN with two to three servers will start at about $10K.  Your mileage will vary depending on the size and number of the hard drives you will insert into the SAN.  Since all SANs are scalable, you can start with as little as six hard drives and grow to over 200 as your demands increase.  Why not start today?  Reduce your server costs, increase your flexibility, and get back to focusing on what is really import and grow YOUR business.

Paul R. CookPaul R. Cook
Vice President, Network Services
Paul.Cook@CustomSystemsCorp.com

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Custom Systems Corporation

Cloud vs. hard drive storage and security

Cloud storage allows users to save pictures, music, files, and other data to a server on the Internet that can then be easily retrieved from any device such as another PC/Mac, Smartphone or Tablet.

Hard drive storage is primarily used to store data from a single PC or Mac to the local computer that can only be retrieved on the PC/Mac it was saved to.

The growing trend in Cloud Storage is due primarily to today’s mobile lifestyle.  We want to be able to access our pictures, music, and files from any device at any time, in any location.  Sharing our data with others is also important as we rely upon social media as a primary means of personal and business communication.  Take a picture or video on your Smartphone, upload it to Facebook, post it to Instagram, save it to the cloud server, and then later open it on your Mac to do some Photoshop.  It is all easily accomplished with Cloud Storage.

In contrast, with local or hard drive storage you must take a photo with your phone, email it to yourself and save to your PC.  Put it on a flash drive and email or upload it to social media.  Back it up because it is your only copy, and hope you never lose the hard drive on your PC.

The mobile lifestyle requires easy transfer of data through a ubiquitous partner we call the Cloud.  Any app on any device can share, save, and edit the data easily.  Oh, and did I mention the Cloud provider promises to back up your data so you don’t have to worry about losing it?  Say goodbye to a USB hard drive connected to your PC/Mac and the frequent task of making local backups that we never seem to have the time to do.   You say your local backup is automatic… did you ever check it?  I don’t but I am also too mobile to be at home to check it.  Put another check mark in the “Cloud” column for me.

How safe is my data?  Well, how safe is your house? If a thief steals your PC and USB hard drive, your data  is gone.  Be unfortunate enough to be driven from your home due to a local disaster and the data is just as gone should there be a flood, hurricane, tornado, or other all too frequent event that interrupts our lives.

How safe is the cloud? Well that depends too since anyone can access the cloud from any device at any time with only a username and a password. Maybe the small inconvenience of creating a secure password is not too high of a threshold to cross. Yes, I’m talking to you who thinks having a capital “P” on Password will keep you secure, or maybe adding a “1”, as in Password1.  Your data is as good as gone, or worse copied by someone without your knowledge with an insufficient password.

If you can get serious about a password – nothing in the dictionary, no names, significant dates, or easily guessed family and pet names – then you are safe.

Local storage provides high capacity, fast retrieval, and the security to know where your data actually resides.  Cloud storage provides on-demand access anytime from any device  provided you can use a secure password.  I don’t see myself becoming any less mobile with the current trends in storage, so I vote for the cloud.  A good password is a small price to pay!

Paul R. CookPaul R. Cook
Vice President, Network Services
Paul.Cook@CustomSystemsCorp.com

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Custom Systems Corporation