And the trends for 2018…

Projecting trends for 2018

FLASH IS STILL HOT

Let’s look further into trending storage technologies. Of course, a sea change has been the adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs). First generation SSDs improved performance and lowered power consumption over their mechanical counterparts, but were costly and limited in capacity. Advances improved their storage and reduced their cost, and the next generation of SSDs, 3D NAND drives, will further boost capacity, performance, and affordability.

But there’s more to come. Intel is developing 3D XPoint technology, for example, which uses different approaches than conventional flash storage and promises to be much, much faster than today’s SSDs. If they cost-effectively deliver on this promise, another sea change is coming.

HYPERCONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURES (HCI)

Sales of hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) will continue to be robust. With HCI, storage is not an add-on purchased from third parties, but an intrinsic part of the infrastructure. Storage silos are gone; all data reside in one place, popularly known as a data lake.

Storage aggregation complements several other trends. More and more companies are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which though generally small and simple, collect data relentlessly. IoT data will greatly add to the task of storing data already collected daily. Keeping all these data in one place simplifies matters, as will software-defined storage (SDS), another growing trend. Leveraging the virtualization of HCI, SDS can facilitate the administration and organization of information in data lakes.

Additionally, this strategy plays well with new analytics tools that provide managerial oversight of storage pools and extract value and insights from operational and IoT data. Organizations will increasingly use analytics to leverage their data for better efficiencies, productivity, asset planning, and customer relationships.

Of course, HCI isn’t required for data aggregation and analytics. Many companies will continue to rely on multi-vendor strategies to avoid vendor lock-in and preserve granular, cost-effective scalability. After all, why pay for an HCI module that contains both computing and storage when all you need is storage? With SDS, integrating storage devices into the enterprise pool is easy.

CLOUD STORAGE

Another sea change is the rise of clouds. Some organizations will continue to depend on private, on-premises clouds for compliance, security, and other reasons, while others will use a combination of private and third-party cloud services, or rely exclusively on the latter.

Clouds are increasingly used for backups. Many third-party clouds offer cost-efficient, though slower, tiers for inactive data. While some enterprises still prefer in-house solutions, clouds offer practical repositories for backing up data, particularly now that their security has improved.

For greater peace-of-mind, many businesses store their data on multiple clouds, further ensuring that operational and archived data are always available. Should one cloud service fail for any reason, employees and customers will still access the data replicated in other clouds.

VIDEO STORAGE – 4K & SURVEILLANCE VIDEO DATA

Finally, those industries that produce video still face extraordinary storage challenges. The creation and distribution of high-resolution video content demand fast, large, and robust storage solutions, especially now that 4K content is gaining in popularity. Video files will only grow larger in size, even with compression, and there will be more of them going forward. They have to be stored somewhere.

The same is true of video surveillance content. Video surveillance overlaps with IoT in that remotely-distributed devices generating streams of data are proliferating. Whether it be for safety, security, or operational concerns, this video must remain accessible for set periods of time and sometimes analyzed. Vendors that offer effective solutions for capturing and storing video feeds will do well in 2018.

When to Use Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Network Attached Storage (NAS)NAS Storage Device - ACNC is a file-level computer data storage system which connects  to a computer network and then provides data access. NAS can enable simpler and lower cost systems such as load-balancing and fault-tolerant email and web server systems by providing storage services.

NAS vs. Traditional File Servers

NAS offers a number of benefits over traditional file servers. Some of these benefits include lower cost, less downtime, and better security. NAS products are simpler than traditional file servers. They strip out all of the unnecessary capabilities of a traditional file server when makes NAS less prone to crashing and more secure.

NAS vs. SAN (Storage Area Network)

NAS is often contrasted with SAN, The biggest difference between a NAS and a SAN is that a NAS is one single storage device whereas a SAN is a network of multiple devices. NAS also tends to utilize TCP/IP and Ethernet connections, whereas  SAN protocols include Bere, iCSI, or SCSI.

NAS devices are better suited to individuals and small business users who do not need massive amounts of storage.

AC&NC can custom our JetStor NAS devices to suit your needs. Contact us today for a custom solution: (800) 213-2667.

JetStor: Using SSD Caching to Improve System Performance

As the capacity of HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) continues to expand, the response speed of this traditional storage technology hasn’t kept up with the times.  In recent years, random input/output (I/O) technology has only experienced marginal advancement in the HDD realm, causing this old school storage solution to really weigh down computing systems when data needs to be recalled quickly.

For businesses using major applications like enterprise web with database, cloud and virtualization, slow speeds just don’t cut it.  HDDs may have superior capacity, but they simply can’t handle the job alone.  So as the demands of the virtual world keep growing, where can you turn to get your traditional storage devices some much needed help?

SAS724

SSD Caching for Mission Critical Apps

SSDs (Solid-State Drives) have become HDDs best friend for mission critical applications.  This hardware operates at exceptionally high speeds, and can be configured with HDDs to act as a secondary caching unit that enables far better performance.  With their cost effectiveness and ease of configuration, SSD caching is a viable option for Fortune 500 companies to small and medium sized businesses.

Think of SSD caching as a backpack.  The Solid-State Drive attaches to your HDD and acts as an extended cache.  Instead of your computers digging around in the Hard Drive to recall the data it needs, often-used enterprise applications are stored in the SSD so the computer can effectively gather data at a much faster rate. The SSD becomes the go-to source for high-demand information on the computer, increasing speeds and providing the system with one more resource of data.

Performance Benefits of SSD Caching

Professional testing shows that SSD caching is better than traditional HDD caching time and time again. SSDs outperform their antiquated counterparts in a range of tasks, including:

  • Operating System Boot Times
  • Application Loading
  • Reboot Times
  • Performances at Enhanced and Maximum Caching

As a whole, SSD configuration allows a computer to boot faster, run faster, and stay fast for a long stretch of time. Its low cost and easy configuration make this option a no-brainer for avid computer users.

When SSD Caching Does Not Improve Performance

While there are a number of benefits to SSD caching, the fact is that it will not create a system-wide performance improvement. Data that is too large for the SSD to read will have to be read in the hard drive, and some data may be removed from the cache over time to make room for new data. If you primarily use your computer to read and save large files, SSD caching may not do you any good. If you use several programs at once without the need for large cache storage, you would see enhanced performance from SSD technology.

With proper configuration under the right circumstances, SSD caching can do wonders for your computer. Explore your options today and improve your experiences in the future.

JBOD Vs RAID : Cost Effective Network Storage Options

JetStor 780JHD JBOD

RAID gets all the attention nowadays, but there’s still a place for RAID’s less talented cousin, JBOD.  Both are comprised of multiple physical drives, so what’s the difference?  Relying on storage virtualization, RAID, or redundant array of inexpensive/independent disks, divides, replicates, and distributes data across the multiple drives.  JBOD, an acronym for just a bunch of disks, is precisely that—just a bunch of disks.  It has few of the merits of RAID, but there’s virtue in simplicity.

The individual disks of a JBOD array can each serve as a volume or they can be concatenated, or spanned, to form one single logical volume or LUN.  Whereas RAID demands that all drives be of similar capacity, JBOD drives can be of various sizes.

JBOD Network Storage Enclosures

JBOD’s primary advantage is capacity utilization.

A JBOD array fully utilizes all the space on its drives.  A JBOD with four 300 gigabyte drives, for example, provides 1200 gigabytes of usable capacity.  In contrast, a similar RAID array will offer less than 1200 gigs of storage capacity because of the need to store redundant data.  How much space is needed for this redundancy depends on the particular RAID configuration.  RAID 1, for example, mirrors data on two or more drives, which means that only half the capacity of the disks is available for storage, the other half being used to store the duplicated copy.

As a result, JBOD is a cost-effective network storage solution. JBOD controllers are less expensive than RAID controllers and you can mix and match disks while using every block for primary storage.

JBODs have downsides.

The read/write operations of RAID can be much faster than those of JBODs.  With RAID, the data stream can be divided and stored on multiple disks concurrently, whereas JBODs store the data stream on one disk at a time.  RAID 0, for example, stripes data across two more or more disks to accelerate read/write operations.  Note, however, that it provides no redundancy.

More importantly, JBOD does not offer the redundancy of RAID.  If a disk is corrupted in a JBOD array, all your data is at risk, including what’s on the other drives.  With RAID, you can lose one or more disks and still preserve your data, depending on the configuration.

When are JBODs useful?

If you have a lot of data to store, particularly if just temporarily, JBODs are an economical solution.  Make sure, however, that the data is not critical or you have an effective backup scheme in place.

JBOD Network Storage Consulting

Avoiding Vendor Lock-in

Some systems are closed and proprietary while others are open and free.  A fine example of the latter is OpenStack, a set of free, open-source software tools for building and managing very scalable public and private clouds. OpenStack enables organizations of all sizes to avoid the risky lock-in inherent with proprietary cloud solutions.  It’s been called both “the Linux of the cloud” and “the future of cloud computing.”

OpenStack was created in 2010 in part by NASA and is now backed by a large, engaged community of developers and many leading companies.  Its modular architecture includes components for compute, networking, and storage.

Of particular interest is OpenStack’s support for both object and block storage.  Known as Swift, OpenStack Object Storage is a redundant storage system that uses clusters of standardized servers and can scale to petabytes of data.  Rather than a traditional file system, it provides distributed storage for static data like “virtual machine images, photo storage, email storage, backups and archives.”  The solution stores objects and files to multiple drives, thus delivering redundancy and data protection.  If a server or drive fails, OpenStack Object Storage will replicate the data to other nodes in the cluster.  Thanks to this functionality, users can deploy commodity drives and servers rather than costlier, high-end arrays.  Additionally, scaling horizontally means just adding new servers to the cluster.

Many organizations, of course, use block storage and they have the option of OpenStack Block Storage, also known as Cinder.  The system offers persistent block-level storage devices for use with OpenStack compute instances.  Cinder is useful when data must be rapidly accessed, such as for database applications, because it can access specific locations on a drive.  It can use local Linux servers for storage or storage platforms from a variety of vendors.  Cinder also manages the creation, attaching, and detaching of block devices to servers, as well as snapshot management for backing up data.

Why should you use Object Storage for unstructured data? How is it different from NAS or SAN?

Object Storage

According to Wikipedia’s definition, “object storage (also known as object-based storage) is a storage architecture that manages data as objects, as opposed to other storage architectures like file systems which manages data as a file hierarchy and block storage which manages data as blocks within sectors and tracks.” Object storage systems allow relatively inexpensive, scalable and durable retention of massive amounts of unstructured data.

The biggest problem with other using storage approaches like NAS or SAN is their scalability. NAS, a common type of file storage,  lacks the ability to scale as a single system. Today’s SANs, which is a form of block storage, are already complex and adding a file system layer on top just makes it more complicated.

With object storage, there is no file system hierarchy. The architecture of the platform allows the data pool to scale virtually to an unlimited size, while keeping the system simple to manage. Using an object storage system also enables faster access and reduced overhead vs using  NAS or SAN.

As companies acquire more and more digital data, the need for storage platforms that require little management effort and the ability to scale out becomes even more important. In addition to their scalability, object storage systems are also incredibly durable compared to other storage solutions.

AC&NC offers a variety of storage types and can help you assess what your needs are. Call AC&NC for more specifics or visit our products page.

Solid State Drive vs Hard Drive

Intel SSD

A solid state drive, or SSD, is a data storage device that can have a huge impact on your system’s performance—even more than getting a new computer that runs on a hard drive.

Unlike a hard drive, SSDs have no moving parts. SSDs are designed for storage and have quite a few benefits compared to a traditional hard drive. SSDs are:

  • Faster: This is where SSDs really stand apart. An SSD-equipped PC will boot in seconds whereas a hard drive requires time to speed up to operating specs. A hard drive will also continue to be slower than an SSD during normal operation.
  • More energy efficient: SSDs use significantly less power at peak load than hard drives, less than 2W vs. 6W for a hard drive. Their energy efficiency can deliver longer battery life in notebooks, less power strain on systems, and a cooler computing environment.
  • More durable: An SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to keep your data safe even if you drop your PC!
  • Quieter: SSDs make virtually no noise at all since they’re non-mechanical. Even the quietest hard drives will still make a sound. If you work with audio or recording music, this makes a big difference in sound quality.

The cons of SSDs used to be their price, however, prices have been getting progressively lower over the past few years.

AC&NC offers a variety of storage types and can help you assess what your needs are. Many of our JetStor devices include SSDs, ranging from 100GB to 960GB depending on your needs. Call AC&NC for more specifics or visit our products page.

 

Network Attached Storage Solutions

CCTV-APP-Pic

Data has always faced two problems: how to protect it and how to store it. Technology has advanced so that there are several affordable and easy to implement solutions to both storing data and sharing data.

The two most common ways to share storage are:

An iSCSI device is accessed through the network. Data on an iSCSI  device can only be read by the computer that stored it, making it hard to share data.

A Network Attached Storage (NAS) device stores files that any system can read,  which makes it easy to share information over the network. There are several NAS solutions that include built-in RAID protection as well. For this reason NAS systems are very popular. Some NAS systems are designed to easily integrate with popular public cloud services, making it simple to protect critical business information, while offering access to the data locally and on-the-go.

Learn more about our Network Attached Storage Systems.

DAS: Still Useful After All These Years

DAS

In the nascent days of corporate computing, there was only one kind of storage configuration—hard drives within workstations and servers or hard drives in enclosures that were directly connected to workstations and servers. Being the only storage architecture, this approach did not warrant a name. But networks and applications grew larger and more complex, and network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SANs) emerged to meet the needs. These advances in storage prompted the initial configuration to be named—direct-attached storage (DAS). NAS allows multiple devices across a network to access a storage platform and SANs provide multiple networked devices with block-level access to multiple storage platforms. Both have proven very useful in enterprise networks, but DAS can still play an important role for organizations.

DAS can offer some performance benefits because the server does not need to cross the network for reads and writes. This makes DAS useful for supporting demanding applications like Microsoft Exchange, audio and video streaming, digital video recording, and media servers. Another advantage is DAS is much simpler to deploy and maintain than NAS or SANs. NAS and SANs require network planning and the acquisition and installation of gear like switches, routers, cabling, and connections. By avoiding these costs and complexities, DAS remains a viable choice for small businesses or for branch offices where only one physical server is deployed.

A knock on DAS is its limited scalability, but using a RAID array for the storage platform can deliver substantial storage capacity. Well-engineered RAID solutions offer much of the fault tolerance, availability, and data protection provided by NAS and SANs with such features as disk, controller, and cooling redundancy. Moreover, they allow JBODs to be connected to them, greatly increasing capacity. The bottom line is when storage does not need to be shared or virtualized, DAS, particularly when anchored by RAID platforms, offers a cost-effective solution that is easy to own and manage.

HYBRID FLASH STORAGE

HYBRID FLASH STORAGE

Flash Hybrid Storage

IT departments are struggling to keep up with the massive growth in data as well as the complexity in the types of data stored. From digital text files, to videos to machine-generated data, a storage solution has to be able to handle not just the volume, but the variety of data. With all of that data, inevitably there becomes the IO (input/output) bottleneck.

Flash technology is the most widely accepted solution for addressing the IO bottleneck, but even Flash arrays differ greatly. Depending on your business needs, investing in server-side flash or all-flash arrays can be justifiable, but is generally at a much steeper price.

That’s where the hybrid flash storage solution comes into play. For businesses looking for low latency, high IOPs performance, and high storage capacity, a hybrid flash fits the bill. The top advantages of a hybrid-flash solution include:

1. Cost

2. Performance

3. Reliability and error reduction

4. Data protection

5. Scalability

Hybrid flash arrays benefit many environments by balancing performance and capacity needs at a lower cost than most all-flash systems.  Learn more about AC&NC’s Flash Hybrid solutions for your business.