Managing one of something is usually easier than managing five of something. Indeed, when it comes to storage systems, it is easy to manage one vast storage array than it is five to ten individual ones. Consolidated systems focus much of their design on making sure the system meets the performance expectations of the consolidated workloads. Part of meeting the performance expectation typically involves a data management capability to cache or tier data to flash. The problem is very few storage consolidation systems use data management to move data outside of the box and to cloud storage.
The Importance of Out of System Data Management
Most storage systems that attempt to consolidate storage focus solely on consolidating primary storage workloads, not secondary storage workloads like backup and archive. It is tough to design a storage system to meet all the performance expectations of production workloads while also delivering storage capacity cost-effectively enough to meet an organization’s data retention needs. At some point, IT needs to migrate data to a system suited for long-term data retention, either an object storage system or the cloud.
For primary storage consolidation to be effective, the system doing the consolidation also needs to provide IT with the ability to migrate older data to a secondary object storage system or the cloud. Ideally, the primary storage system provides the management and the movement for this data utilizing its existing data management function. Providing the capability through the storage system means that data moves seamlessly from the primary storage system to the object storage system or the cloud.
The Advantages of Cloud Archive
By directly supporting the cloud as a destination for old data from the consolidated production storage system, it provides an automatic off-site cloud archive for older data. The cloud archive also enables the organization to take advantage of cloud data durability features and maintains a live access point for data.
There is an eventual cost disadvantage for storing archive data in the cloud. Renting capacity for storing data that may never change, adds up over time. The organization needs to compare the cost of an up-front purchase of an on-premises storage system as well as its maintenance and make the most appropriate business decision.
If the organization determines upfront or at some point in the future that cloud storage rentals costs are untenable, then it can migrate to an on-premises object storage system. The primary storage consolidation system needs to support both cloud-based storage and on-premises object storage so that the organization can select the right storage solution for its needs, both now and in the future.
Outbox Data Management and Data Security
A key advantage of having the primary storage system in control of data movement, both internal to the storage system and external to other systems, is that it provides a centralized method to manage data security. Only one process is responsible for data movement and uses the same solution for encrypting all data.
You can learn more about building a cyber-secure storage system by watching our on demand webinar, “Three Reasons Storage Security is Failing and How to Fix it.” In the webinar, we make a case for a consolidated storage system being a foundational component of a secure data environment. One of the challenges with storage consolidation is those storage systems that make the consolidation claim can’t really meet all of an organization’s needs concerning data management. If the storage consolidation software can extend its reach by managing storage outside of the primary storage system itself, it provides the organization with greater flexibility and makes consolidation more realistic.