While Storage costs accounted for an estimated 13% of all IT expenditures in 2002, according to Meta Group, they are expected to account for 22% of all IT expenditures by 2007. There are constant reports on the doubling of overall storage capacity year after year, and many business struggle with the management of their data. As business depends more and more on their data-intensive applications, availability requirements have risen to almost 100%.
In addition to the complexity of high availability storage systems, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act demands even more of the storage systems of publicly held companies. This federal act demands the integration of on-line disk storage with data retention systems and WORM (write once, read many) storage devices. Important data must be protected from deletion by anyone, and in addition to email correspondence being archived, instant messaging conversations must be captured and storage as well.
There are many storage vendors out there, providing you with an overwhelming variety of options when it comes to online storage and archival solutions. The cutting-edge of online storage includes SAN technology, virtualization options, and D2D backup. Fibre storage is the fastest (and most expensive) online backup protocol, reaching up to 2Gbps speeds with the newest technology, and will quickly move to 4Gbps. Host bus adapter hardware is often required to integrate connect the fibre storage to your servers, and interoperability is always an issue.
IP storage technology is gaining acceptance with Gigabit Ethernet switches and despite the security issues, it is a lower cost online backup option to utilize existing Ethernet architecture. IP storage is not limited to NAS systems anymore either, IP SAN systems is picking up steam as well. There is also FCIP (Fibre Channel over TCP/IP) technology to consider as well. iSCSI is a relatively new option into the IP SAN arena, a great option for the broader market that has difficultly justifying investment into a Fibre Channel SAN.
ATA and SATA (Serial ATA) storage technology is fast becoming a low-cost alternative to fibre storage systems. This is fueled by the strides made to increase the bandwidth of this protocol. These storage systems are well-suited for many types of storage, and can be used for RAID, D2D, near-line, secondary storage, or large data archival. ATA and Serial ATA technology is a great low cost/terabyte solution for those who need something cheaper than fibre, but faster than RAID.
With the advent of these new IP-based backup and archival solutions, the cost of tape storage has dramatically decreased. Many tape storage vendors are including online storage capabilities with their tape libraries, allowing you manage all of your storage in one unit. With the relatively new LTO Ultrium tape standards with great throughput, these legacy systems cannot be ignored, especially since the storage density of tapes is growing slightly faster than that of disk.
DVD-ROM and CD-R optical storage systems are quick and inexpensive archival solutions as well. The newest development in optical storage is UDO (Ultra Density Optical), which is great for long-term data retention. These systems are easily scalable, and deliver a media life in excess of 50 years, for minimization of data migration, and virtually eliminating media maintenance. The UDO is definitely a competitor to the standard ISO MO protocol, and is supported by the standard ISO 5.25” optical drives. Capacity of UDO media exceeds 30GB/disc, and is expected to reach 120GB by 2008. UDO media also supports WORM technology for data stringent retention compliance.
Virtualization of storage via a SAN is still a great option, but ILM is the shape of the future of storage management. Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) seeks to find balance among online, near-line, and archival storage. Management is eased with a system utilizing HSM (hierarchical storage management) that keeps important and constantly accessed information on high-performance primary storage systems while moving infrequently accessed information to tape, optical and ATA storage systems, allowing IT managers to implement several tiers of storage to hold their data.
This dizzying array of options and protocols makes the acquisition of new technologies frightening and confusing. Although most storage and networking vendors publish inoperability charts, sometimes these charts are not completely accurate. Deciding which balance between speed, capacity and cost is best for your business is a challenge as well.
Trust the representatives of North American Systems to provide you with the unbiased third-party opinions. We have over ten years of experience planning, installing, and integrating SAN systems into midrange companies. We will work with you to identify the services, technologies, processes, and organizational elements that you need to satisfy your current and future business storage requirements.
Our strong relationships with a number of storage vendors like ADIC, IBM, StorageTek, Hitachi Data Systems, Nexsan, LSI Logic, Overland, and Rorke Data will ensure you a great price for your storage acquisitions. We also offer IP and Gigabit Ethernet SAN switches and chassis for storage networks, fibre switches and HBAs. Our hands-on experience ensures accurate inoperability reporting and performance information, ensuring a smooth transition to new storage systems and protocols. We are constantly on the cutting edge of SAN technology, and are certified to integrate Veritas and Tivoli storage management software.