• United States
by Anne Skamarock

Help deciding what best fits your needs

Feb 25, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Storage buyers' guide

Gaining that competitive edge in today’s data-driven economy requires properly managing your company’s data. Clearly, businesses of all types are grappling with phenomenal growth and are focused on deploying the right storage solution. Choosing that solution, however, requires careful consideration of the storage architecture that best addresses the relevant business problems experienced by your company.

In the early days of computing, data center storage management was relatively primitive. The management of even a single megabyte could easily occupy a full time computer operator. In the early 1980s, data center operations typically became centralized around a mainframe. Terabytes of data could be stored and managed efficiently on disks and tape libraries within large, usually costly environments. In the mid-to-late 1980s the personal computer and departmental minicomputer paradigm moved the storage pendulum to a more decentralized model.

Workgroup-oriented application and file servers migrated a substantial amount of storage out of these centralized data centers. However, the cost to manage and protect the data in the decentralized environment proved to be too high. Over the past several years, the pendulum has swung back moving data and storage assets back into the data center, bringing with it some of the lessons learned from previous environment changes.

Today, much attention is being paid to the potential benefits of, network-based storage technologies. The appeal of these technologies stems from their promise of on-demand/modular scalability, high availability, rapid data access, data and/or capacity sharing across heterogeneous environments, advanced backup and restoration, improved, consolidated storage management solutions, and reduced total cost of ownership. Often, customers are led to believe that the promise of a technology or architecture equates to a solution.  Unfortunately, this is often, not the case.  The entire solution consists of architecture, infrastructure components, management software, and data protection capabilities. However, how does one know which storage solution, or combination of solutions, including management, best fits the business needs?

Analysis. Often companies want a quick fix when what they need is an overhaul. The time and energy spent on analyzing the business requirements connected with applications and its associated storage will be well worth it in the long run. This analysis will provide you with high-level requirements for the management of the data, the accessibility of the data, and the management of the storage itself; in short, the requirements for the storage solution. It will also provide business justification for the purchase of the chosen solution.

In early March, EMA’s “Storage Buyer’s Guide” will be available.  This guide features an forward section written by my colleague, Mike Karp and me, which covers topics of storage architectures, infrastructure, management solutions, choosing storage solutions, return on investment and the procurement process. The rest of the guide highlights top vendors who specialize in storage and storage infrastructure solutions with an EMA analysis of each vendor included.  The guide will be available on EMA’s Web site and