Making the Most of Storage Solutions

By Dani Magestro
Updated: May 15, 2012

Making the Most of Storage Solutions

Storage Solutions can make or break an IT infrastructure. The process generally starts off with you analyzing the types, size and speed that are needed to keep data integrity. By doing this you identify your Storage Solution needs and come up with the exact, not an estimate, amount of storage you will need to purchase. You also analyze what is needed in terms of speed, hardware and other basic needs. In order to justify your investment decisions you will need to be able to show some type of measured improvement after the implementation of your new Storage Solution.

When purchasing a Storage Solution you can’t generally tell how successful it is until a good period of time has passed. Giving it a little time to work out the any kinks is often a part of the normal implementation process. Once everything is up and running you should try to make the most out of your Storage Solution. How do you do that? The first thing you can do is use whatever solution you chose to its maximum ability. If you paid for a Storage Solution that really was not a good fit you may find that it has many bells and whistles that you don’t have the desire or need to use. If that is the case then make sure the solution was not top of the line and you are not paying too much for features you will never use.

The most common mistake people make when purchasing a Storage Solution is overinvesting. This means they may have bought too much too soon and end up with more than they will ever use before the equipment is obsolete.  Another concern in the same realm as over investing is under-investing but that is easier to fix.

Under-investing can cause major issues within an organization like losing precious data or causing a slowdown of the workflow. Concern over Data loss is the number one cause of IT department stress. When the impact means loss of dollars then it becomes everyone’s stress. How can you be sure you make the most of your Storage Solutions and do not run into this issue? Easy, you don’t just estimate, you go with exact calculations. Pinpointing your current storage needs allows you to calculate the overage you need to have a safe buffer. You will also need to make sure you setup an easily scalable Storage Solution that will allow for your company’s future plans.

The term scalable is coming up a lot these days in IT and for a good reason. Back 25 years ago businesses would outgrow their Storage Solutions and need to completely build out a new infrastructure. Now storage systems are more commoditized and are designed to be expandable  - to scale for the future – and as a result, companies usually by solutions that will scale well if their storage needs grow rapidly. Of course as technology evolves you may eventually have no choice but to rebuild. The key is having a good plan in place to handle it. Today, since our choices are so much greater, the desire is already there to want to expand in a way that it causes the least amount of interruption.

Next you need to be sure you are prepared for any equipment failures. Whatever Storage Solution you decide should at the very least allow for multiple backups. If your budget allows, your best bet is to go with at least one addition offsite backup. In addition, if your Storage Management is not in the cloud, you will need to be sure you have an equipment replacement plan should something fail onsite. Most companies who have purchased in house Storage Management equipment rely on the hardware vendor’s maintenance agreement with them in order to fix any hardware failures. This is sufficient if the turnaround time is fairly quick. Most businesses can forgive an hour’s downtime but a few days are almost never acceptable. If that is the case you may want to look at the cost of upgrading service or leasing additional equipment to build a beefier solution.

Storage Solutions are helpful and necessary tools that every IT department needs to invest in. Choosing the right Storage Solution will help you maximize your company’s ROI for your investment. Sometimes your budget won’t allow for the biggest and the best so it’s all about making the most of the Storage Solutions you can afford. With some good planning and the right design, you can make sure you are taking care of your company’s needs to the best of your ability.

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