Don't Let Enterprise Storage Shortage Ruin Your Day

By CIOReview | Friday, August 19, 2016

One of the main concerns of IT industry today is shortage of storage. Being a vital component, storage orchestrates the successful running of a business. There are many different types of storage services, rated on different basis like security measures, access speed, and expandability. Shortage of storage capacity is a big hindrance to organizations as there is continuous influx of data and opting for unreliable storage can result in security repercussions for organizations.   

Established organizations prioritize storage maintenance and have teams dedicated to handle their files and data. There are rarely ever such scenarios where large enterprises witness a shortage of storage. But these are the so called tech giants. What about medium and small companies and start-ups?

Smaller businesses usually have a fraction of the storage capacity as that of the bigger and more established enterprises. SMBs to have a department dedicated to handling storage is out of the question, chiefly because of the cost, but also the lack of experienced workforce. What happens when no one maintains the storage and data keeps accumulating? It won’t be long before they run out of data storage space.

While the company might be in a fix under such circumstances, there are a few solutions that can mitigate these problems. The first and foremost option for organizations is to leverage reserve capacity. Reserve storage is the threshold at which indicators point to a shortage of space. This storage, like the reserve fuel in a vehicle, is for emergency purposes only. It can be used but in most cases, it affects the performance and stability of the system.

So in times of emergency, while new data is being stored in reserve storage, one can concurrently free up primary disk space by removing unwanted and unused data. Once this is done, the reserve storage can be restored. But this process can be disruptive as identifying data to be removed is tricky—removing pre-installed software that is an integral part of the system will affect system stability. Administrators must carefully identify the data or files to be removed, which is a process tedious. One can also try pruning or compressing the files to reduce the space they occupy. The important aspect to keep in mind is that this is a temporary process and organizations should find solutions to increase their storage capacity.

Organizations can always buy more storage devices, but there are a number of issues to be wary of. First, there is no assurance that the specifications they need will match the budget. Second, even if it does, there will be a question of whether or not the company’s environment and floor space will support the extra storage drives. And there is also the additional cost of upgrading software that the companies have to take into account.

Firms can also opt for storage-on-demand services, also referred to as utility storages. These storage systems are generally of three types: on-demand, internal utility, and off-site. With on-demand storage, vendors install storage systems configured with more capacity than is needed and users "turn on" additional capacity when required. In case of Internal utility, the IT department pools its storage resources and adds the components necessary to internally administer the storage to the company’s business units based on the demand. And lastly, off-site storages—service providers render off-site storage facilities, typically based on a lease arrangement with SLAs that guarantee quality of service.

Cloud-enabled network cache is another option available to companies. Additionally, there are vendors that offer all-flash network caches that move data to a secure cloud storage location. The addition of a small flash array to existing infrastructure will enhance the system performance.

As it stands, there are a number of options for the smaller businesses to tackle the storage issues, but each has its own pros and cons. It is for firms to analyze their individual needs and deploy the right solution. Everything needs to be taken into perspective here as they need to consider the environment they operate in, the capital they are willing to invest, and also the workforce or more precisely their knowledge force. Whatever their decision, the firms would do well to have a storage capacity plan in place to avoid any undesirable business impact.