Pay Attention to Your Data, and Your Data Will Pay Dividends to You

Even a decade ago, few anticipated that data would grow so powerful, so important, and do so as quickly as it has. Today managing data growth has become more crucial than ever. Fortunately there are concrete ways to benefit from smart data management. One small hint: It has everything to do with the cloud!

Migrating internal servers and data to the cloud is a brilliant solution to the vexing issue of information management. Employing one, some or all of these strategies will reap boundless benefits and efficiencies, while keeping data management costs under control.

First, a surefire way to increase data availability while lowering costs is Cloud-based Data Archiving. Data archiving has been used for some time to identify and to migrate dormant data to separate storage devices, where information can be held indefinitely, and retrieved as needed. The data is indexed with search capabilities, but it’s segregated to avoid poor performance. It’s been a solid way to keep data available, and accessible when it’s needed.

Enter the cloud! By migrating data storage to the cloud, IT managers can store inactive data, yet have it readily available at a moment’s notice — all without the need to operate individual servers and data storage arrays that can be cumbersome and costly. In fact, many cloud storage systems include data archiving as part of their architecture. Clearly, for data migration, the time has come for cloud storage.

There’s more. Cloud-based Storage Consolidation is another state-of-the-art way to manage data offsite. With conventional siloed networks, files and application servers have their own storage media; as such, a good deal of the on-board storage isn’t even used; siloed disk drives are shelved for mirrored drives of hot spares, with only 40% to 80% utilized for disk storage. With cloud storage, data from disparate network servers can be consolidated, managed and maintained in one convenient location — all by your cloud service provider, freeing up your IT department for other important tasks.

Centralized storage and administration on the cloud also enhances performance and streamlines data management, all while keeping costs down. In-house data silos are replaced with faster enterprise-level cloud storage. Beyond that, cloud-based storage can host numerous file and application services, with even greater flexibility and a higher utilization rate than outmoded siloed servers. Centralization on the cloud also means great data protection in the event of a storage mishap, along with planned maintenance and automatic upgrades when necessary. Finally, administration becomes a lot more efficient and much less costly with centralized cloud storage. Each server or user can access their own designated storage space; the kinds and quantity of storage media used are greatly reduced, along with the man-hours needed to oversee traditional storage capabilities.

With Object Storage, which treats all forms of files, unstructured data, systems data and resources as a single virtual entity, objects are stored containing their actual data as well as meta-data about the specific object. This storage methods provides increased system performance as well as administrative benefits. Cloud-based Object Storage, including those from Amazon and Microsoft, is a marked improvement, offering customers a range of options, including free and open-source storage. Today many providers also integrate data archiving into their architecture; this allows options for tapping into frequently accessed data, less-used data, as well as older archived data.

Cloud-based IT Recovery Services is another significant aspect of efficient data management on the cloud. It puts the emphasis on backup, disaster recovery, enhanced availability and hardware replication.

With Cloud-based IT Recovery, disks are used to backup and restore, rather than backing up to tape. This prevents system downtime, while improving restore time. With this system, synthetic backup is created — combining incremental backup with previous backups. The result: faster restores. The cloud relies on synthetic backup from a specific point in time; should a disaster occur, smaller standbys are activated to match the need for the restored system. It’s highly cost-effective, as customers only pay for the recovery portion they need — not the entire mirrored resource they’ll likely never use. This also keeps operational and administrative expenses to a minimum. Hardware-based replication, which uses SAN-to-SAN in the cloud, creates a synchronized copy of data that is housed on the cloud. With this system, a replica is duplicated for the production system; it can be easily powered on and data accessed if necessary.

Managing your data growth using the cloud will go a long way toward streamlining your data storage and protection. A SIAS representative can explain all of the advantages of data management in the cloud, and how you’ll reap benefits right away, and down the road!

Data Growth White Paper