Have you ever wondered if there could be more your storage servers can do for your IT infrastructure?
Your storage environment holds terabytes, if not petabytes, of vital information, from customers’ personal details to financial records, intellectual property, and more. With so much on the line, it’s no wonder storage has become the bedrock of any modern network. Yet as critical as it is, storage often receives less attention than flashier technologies. It’s time to change that view and see storage for what it truly is—a force multiplier that can significantly enhance your entire IT ecosystem when leveraged intelligently.
Read on for ways to optimize your storage infrastructure and take advantage of all it has to offer.
Consolidate Servers with Hyperconverged Infrastructure
One of the best ways to streamline operations while gaining resources is by consolidating multiple physical servers onto virtual machines using hyperconverged IT infrastructure (HCI). HCI clusters compute and store resources together for simplified management and increased utilization rates. Look into HCI solutions that integrate your existing storage into the cluster for an easy upgrade path.
Boost Performance with All-Flash Arrays
Traditional hard disk drive (HDD) storage can often become a bottleneck, especially for latency-sensitive workloads. Make the switch to all-flash arrays with SSDs for near-instant I/O that’s 5–10x faster than HDDs. Applications like databases see huge speed gains with flash that allow for greater scale and more responsive experiences.
Implement Software-Defined Storage
Implementing software-defined storage is one of the best ways to optimize your IT infrastructure and take advantage of all your storage has to offer. Let’s take a deeper look at how it works.
- Software-defined storage separates your data from physical storage dependencies by using software to virtualize your storage infrastructure. This provides multiple benefits for you.
- Data can live on any type of storage hardware, from SSDs and HDDs to object storage, cloud IT infrastructure storage, and more. You’re free to implement the best medium for each workload rather than be locked into a single type.
- Resources can be pooled together, with data automatically moved between storage tiers based on access needs. This keeps hot data fast and available, while colder data rests affordably.
- Virtual storage objects allow for thin provisioning and thin clones that take up practically no space initially until data is written. You can provision volumes in seconds that auto-expand non-disruptively.
- Software-defined protocols decouple your data from any vendor lock-in. Switch vendors or IT infrastructure storage types at any time without disruptions or costly migrations because your data format remains agnostic.
- With logical abstraction, multiple physical disks appear as a single volume. This simplifies management and enables self-healing capabilities; if a drive fails, a virtual volume replaces it seamlessly.
- Rich data services like replication for high availability, snapshots for point-in-time recovery, and cloning for VMs can all run as software across heterogeneous infrastructure. These virtual services reduce complexity and have lower costs compared to hardware-based services.
Uses Deduplication and Compression
Leverage data reduction technologies like deduplication and compression to drastically shrink your IT infrastructure storage capacity needs. Deduplication identifies and eliminates redundant data blocks across volumes, while compression squeezes files to better utilize each byte of available space. Together, these can yield startling 10–30x data reduction ratios on real-world data.
Automate Tiering and Placement
Keeping hot data on high-performance storage and cold data on cheaper capacity tiers is Storage 101, but doing it manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Automate it instead with intelligent tiering policies that use analytics to optimally distribute data based on access patterns. Let automation maximize cost savings while maintaining performance.
Managing a distributed infrastructure services environment spread across myriad vendors, locations, and models is a headache no one deserves. Centralize management with a unified storage virtualization and automation platform. Get a single pane of glass into all your resources from one easy-to-use interface. Automate provisioning, software updates, backup scheduling, and security enforcement at scale.
Boost Backup Speeds with Duplication
One way to reduce runtimes for infrastructure service storage-level backup is by deduplicating the data before it leaves your array. This identifies and excludes duplicate blocks across volumes so only unique data gets transmitted to your backup target, which could cut network-wide bandwidth usage by 80–90% for large repeated full backups. Deduplicated backups also take up less space.
Optimize for Data Protection
Ensure your storage is optimized for your recovery needs through features like thin clones for fast duplicates, snapshots every 5 minutes, and replication to a distant site. Have immutable, versioned copies of blocks maintained automatically so point-in-time recovery is a breeze and downtime from data loss is minimized.
Provide Instant Analytics at Scale
Install high-density analytics software on your infrastructure services storage to gain real-time insights across all your data without having to copy it elsewhere. Analytics at the storage layer automatically indexes content to support governance, eDiscovery, compliance, and inform tiering recommendations—often with minimal performance impact.
Deliver Cloud Economics On-Prem
Achieve the consumption-based, frictionless provisioning you’ve come to expect from clouds—without leaving your datacenter. Cloud-style storage enables pay-as-you-grow flexibility to start small and automatically scale capacity and performance on demand as needs evolve. Eliminate forklift upgrade costs and gain continuous access to the latest innovations through built-in, non-disruptive upgrades.
Increase Efficiency through Hyper-Convergence
Hyper-converged IT infrastructure (HCI) tightly integrates compute, network and storage resources for simplified operations at higher efficiency rates. Compared to three-tier architectures, HCI reduces TCO by up to 30% as it requires fewer resources like power, space and cooling for the same workload performance. Failover domains are also more resilient. Explore storage-integrated HCI if you want lower costs and operational headaches.
Don’t Forget Data Protection
While all the fancy new technologies are exciting, never lose sight of the core priority: protecting your organization’s most important asset, its data. Ensure snapshots, replication and immutable backups are set up and tested regularly across all storage types. Your business depends on it, so verify protection is bulletproof before moving data “to the cloud” or relying on flashier optimizations. Data protection still trumps all other priorities.
Whether through virtualization, flash, hyperconvergence, data services, analytics or optimized backup strategies, today’s innovative storage technologies empower you to draw more power from your ever-growing piles of information. Now’s the time to audit how your storage is deployed currently versus its full potential. With a little creativity and the right tools, you’ll be amazed at how much more storage can do for your rapidly evolving, data-centric operations.