Factors to Consider when Choosing Storage Management Solutions

By Dani Magestro
Updated: May 15, 2012

Factors to Consider when Choosing Storage Management Solutions

When choosing a Storage Management Solution there are a few factors you should consider. Most of the factors are common in any IT planning but are more important when choosing a Storage Management Solution because of the scope of the project. First, what is the size and scope of the data you will be storing and what capacity is needed to store it? You’ll also want to consider the type of data and the frequency and methods your team will need to use to access it. When doing this it is important to remember to factor in your company’s expected growth rate in the future. A little math may seem like a good solution in figuring this out but there are many more elements that go into finding the true size of the date data you need to store. In order to find a good solid number on the data size you may have to consult with each department head or your IT Project Manager to be sure you are aware of all projects involving the data you want to store. When meeting with the appropriate people it may also be a good time to find out their requirements in regards to the next other factors.

The next factor you should consider when choosing a Storage Management Solution is Speed and Performance. How quickly does the Storage Management Solution need to access the data and return what is needed to the end user? Believe it or not, different Storage Management Solutions can offer different return rate speeds for data. If the data you will be storing is essentially archival for infrequent use or just backup - beyond normal daily, weekly or even monthly use - you may not need the fastest Storage Management Solution on the block. Knowing this could save you money in the long run. Network topology and a large end user population are also factors in the speed and performance needed. Once you calculate the speed and performance that is needed you can take a look at our next factor.

At this point the previous factors that have been analyzed can assist you in deciding what scalability is needed for the Storage Management Solution you choose. Scalability is important because it’s the ability of the Storage Management Solution to be expanded in order to cope with increased use. Every network should be built as a scalable solution. Imagine your accounting department being expanded by 200 people because of a merger. That is 200 more end users who may need to access data and could cause a complete slowdown if several of them needed the data at the same time. Out of date thinking and design can cause your plan to crumble when you realize you have no option for a needed expansion.

Once you decide on a forward thinking plan that allows for expansion you will need to choose a Storage Management Solution that will fit the bill in terms of reliability. The terms reliability and Storage Management Solutions often go hand in hand but you get what you pay for, so don’t assume the reliability of the technology you decide on is top of the line without researching first. The fear of loss of reliability has caused many Administrators to jump ship on one particular solution. The reliance on a simple backup that failed one too many times tends to make everyone take a step back and look at what can be done to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

The next factor to consider when choosing a Storage Management Solution is Management. The administrator of the Storage Management Solution needs to be aware of any challenges that may come along with the solution. Since there are various technologies available for Storage Management Solutions the management of the technology becomes an important factor to consider when looking at the staff who will be managing it. Also consider what types of monitoring tools are available to monitor performance and warn you of any possible failures. Once you’ve considered the above factors you can move on to the final factor which is decided by your company’s needs and internal budget.

Last, you need to consider the cost of the Storage Management Solution. In IT we often know our budget limits and can easily tell if something is in our price range. In this case, however, you need to conduct a run through of the factors in order know that our budgeted spending is going to cover your company’s needs. With elements changing on a consistent basis, knowing your absolute budget for the next fiscal year will come in handy should you need to negotiate pricing. Also with all the research you’ve done in terms of your company’s Storage Management Solution needs you should consider several different vendors and see which allow you to get the most for your budget.

Planning and implementing a Storage Management Solution takes a lot of time and effort. There is no one size fits all solution to finding and figuring out which technology is going to meet most of your company’s needs. Taking the factors mentioned above into consideration will help you pinpoint which vendor has the closest match to what you need, so you can begin to have a solid Storage Management Solution at your fingertips.

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