15 September 2020
IT is the driving force of a modern business. Harnessing it can help companies stay innovative, and make the data they already have work harder to better meet customer needs. As a result, IT teams are under a huge amount of pressure to provide a stable platform for the rest of the business.
This has become especially clear in the past few months, where we’ve seen a huge change in how digitally-driven many organisations have had to become out of necessity. But data needs and requirements can differ significantly from one organisation to another. One setup can be perfect for one environment, but highly unsuitable for another. It can be difficult to judge the competing factors in play and select a solution that offers the best fit.
Get the best of both worlds
Network Attached Storage (NAS) has been a popular way of storing and sharing data for some time. While it once might have been restricted to a single organisation or location, NAS is today used much more widely, commonly including applications and tasks like virtualisation. Organisations are also using it to store huge amounts of unstructured data, which can be anything outside a database environment – media, text, imagery, or audio.
What’s also changed is the sheer amount of data being created every day, which also must be backed up. Both the numbers of and average sizes of files have been growing, alongside a need to often store backups and archives even longer. Backup measures need to be faster and more efficient to catch up to the fact that there’s so much more data being manipulated and created every hour.
Minimise the impact of outages
Whatever the specific IT infrastructure decision makers select, they can’t forget the need for backup and recovery. It’s a matter of when, not if, an outage or system interruption occurs – whether the result of malicious acts, technical faults or even simple human error. They must be prepared to minimise the disruption these situations can create.
Business reputations and customer loyalty are increasingly built on the ability to access and use data in new ways that create value, and any interruption to this can be severely damaging for brand trust and reputation. What’s more, smarter data management is also important for remaining legally compliant, particularly when it comes to things like customer and financial data.
Think about the ‘why’
In approaching any decision around storage, IT leaders should carefully consider what tools are most effective for them before acting. Adopting the wrong kind of solution can cause major headaches further down the line, or even open the organisation up to data exposure or theft through misconfiguration. IT decision makers must address the ‘why’ in their planning.
When it comes to backup and recovery, solutions need to be flexible enough to handle the fact that data can often be a mix of structured and unstructured information, stored in a variety of locations and file types. The choice of backup tool must also be scalable – as organisations are often working with terabytes of data at a time, the task of backup must be able to be scheduled and automated if it’s going to be of value. Unstructured data can also take significant time to back up, and tools that can offer incremental backups as edits are made can be very useful here.
For many organisations, NAS strategies can strike the perfect balance between performance and cost-effectiveness. Leaders must realise, however, that outages and incidents can take place at any time. By having both behaviours and tools in place to minimise their impact, they can begin to plan for success, rather than playing catch-up.
By Michael Cade, senior global technologist, Veeam