Data storage management advantages and challenges explained – TechTarget

Organizations are facing unprecedented challenges storing and managing data. Not only must they handle greater amounts of data, but they must also work with different types of data, much of it unstructured. At the same time, workloads have become more complex and varied and are often distributed across multiple geographic regions.
Workers, too, are more distributed — many of them work from home, especially since the onset of COVID-19. Organizations must also contend with a growing number of cyber attacks, which are more aggressive and sophisticated, while complying with an assortment of regulations that govern data management. More than ever, IT teams must implement effective storage management strategies to address these challenges as efficiently and securely as possible.
A successful storage management strategy ensures data is available to users and applications when they need it. Storage management, however, isn’t one size fits all, and each organization must determine what it takes to meet its own performance requirements and capacity demands, while staying flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances. An effective storage management strategy helps with the following.
Organizations are under great pressure to ensure their data is protected against security threats and they adhere to applicable regulations, especially with the advent of cloud storage and other cloud services. A data breach can disrupt business and result in costly lawsuits and tarnished reputations, sometimes beyond repair. Even if data hasn’t been compromised, an organization might still be subject to hefty fines if not in compliance with applicable regulations. Effective storage management is essential to ensuring data is continuously protected and adheres to governing laws. Even one or two misplaced files can put an entire organization and its customers at risk.
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Many factors go into an app’s performance. One of the most important factors is the storage systems that support the app. IT teams must ensure their storage devices can continuously deliver the necessary performance, regardless of the storage location. Not only does this require the right devices, but those devices must also be properly maintained and periodically upgraded to meet ongoing performance needs. To complicate matters, most IT teams must support multiple apps and multiple storage systems, each requiring careful administration. Only with an effective storage management strategy in place can an organization make certain that all their storage systems continuously deliver the performance necessary to meet fluctuating user and application demands.
As with performance, IT teams must ensure the ongoing availability and reliability of their storage systems, and the only way to do this effectively is to put comprehensive storage management strategy into place. A management strategy makes certain that the storage systems are properly deployed and maintained and that the necessary disaster recovery mechanisms — such as replication, backups or snapshots — are in place to keep disruptions to a minimum should disaster occur. An effective strategy also considers the need to support distributed apps and users. For example, IT might need to balance loads across multiple data stores or locations to minimize workload disruptions.
A storage management strategy makes it easier for administrators to plan and maintain their storage systems. With the right strategy, they can provide their apps and users with the storage capacity they need, while avoiding unused or overprovisioned storage. In this way, they can better utilize storage resources and reduce the costs and complexities that go with managing unnecessary storage. They can also reduce the amount of power and cooling needed to support their storage systems. Storage management can even help admins better plan the virtual memory used by OSes. Effective storage management also helps IT teams better prepare for scaling their systems to accommodate changing workloads and address compatibility and integration issues early on, rather than trying to piece components together on an ad hoc basis.
Managing storage can be a significant undertaking, especially as data amounts increase and storage platforms become more complex. A storage management strategy can help IT teams centralize storage administration and make it easier to maintain multiple storage systems regardless of the types of workloads they support. Such a strategy can also help IT incorporate automation into their workflows, deploy technologies such as software-defined storage and enhance their operations through such mechanisms as dynamic tiering or AI-based analytics.
IT teams are looking for ways to reduce storage costs, especially with the staggering rate of data growth. A management strategy can help IT better utilize storage resources and streamline storage management operations, both of which can reduce costs. In addition, a management strategy can lead to better performance, availability and reliability, increasing worker productivity and customer satisfaction and, in turn, improving the bottom line. Storage management also provides better visibility into the data, enabling organizations to more easily extract value from the data.
Data storage management can offer numerous advantages, if the strategy has been carefully planned and implemented. For example:
Although a storage management strategy offers several benefits, implementing it can be a challenge. Some of the most common issues include:
Despite these challenges, an effective storage management strategy is essential to meeting today’s storage and data demands, and those demands will only increase as more data is generated, workloads become more complex and technologies continue to evolve.
Storage architects, enterprise storage admins and other storage professionals require storage management strategies that meet these challenges head on and enable them to store and manage data in a way that can accommodate current and future requirements, while ensuring the data’s integrity, security and ongoing availability.
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