Network storage can become a competitive advantage when companies use it to more efficiently and effectively leverage their data. Data storage and management only gets more complex as the amount of data grows and more government regulations about data retention are passed. Here's a list of the benefits network storage brings; if three or four address pain points in your company, you're probably ready to deploy network storage to your enterprise.
1. More reliable backups: With a network storage system, you can control the backup schedule for all of your business data, you can make backups an automatic process that happens according to the schedule that best supports your company's business hours and you can ensure that all of your company's information is being backed up.
2. Improved storage utilization: Unlike DAS, which allocates storage resources only to the computer it's attached to, network storage provides a common pool of storage that can be shared by many servers and clients, no matter what file system or operating system they run. This lets you allocate storage where users need it most, and it eliminates unused storage on an underutilized server.
3. Simplified data recovery: After a virus attack or system failure, the last thing you want to do is scrounge for backups. The centralized nature of network storage makes it easier to find the data you need to recover, either from a single application or an entire server, and simpler to restore.
4. Centralized data storage and archiving: Data is more easily backed up from systems across the enterprise when it's controlled via a single, centralized platform. Management is also reduced and data availability is increased after you've eliminated storage silos from your network.
5. Data protection: Your company's data is its most valuable resource. A network storage solution can protect it from user error and malicious intent, theft, natural disasters and system failures.
6. Regulatory compliance: Thousands of governmental regulations, most notably SOX and HIPPA, mandate the way certain types of data must be archived and for how long. A network storage system can help you archive your data according to these requirements — namely for long-term integrity, availability and security — and some include applications (such as IBM's LockVault compliance software) to further ease compliance-related tasks.
7. Simplified storage: Network storage lets you easily add new storage resources anywhere you need them across the enterprise — you can plug in a new box or slot in new disks without ever powering down a server. This means you can handle some storage admin tasks during normal business hours and, because most network storage interfaces are browser based and easy to use, you can manage them from any console on the network.
8. Improved data availability: Every hour of network downtime can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue, so the faster you can restore your business data and applications, the less money you've lost. With a network storage system that includes disk-based backup for your must critical data, you can restore your machines in just a matter of minutes.
If just a few of these benefits could help your company, network storage is a solution you should seriously consider. Before investing in a solution, however, you need to further educate yourself on the storage industry and its major players. Focus' Market Primer: Storage Basics, supported by several briefs on the subject, can help you get started navigating the storage options.
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