The concept of data storage is broad: there are numerous repositories, both physical and digital, that can be used to guarantee the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of information. Data storage, therefore, encompasses digital information retention methods and technologies that allow operations in all phases of the data life cycle: from storage to deletion, to operate strategies such as Digital Marketing.
It was the advancement in technology that contributed to the advent of highly dense and scalable storage systems, including high-performance storage, converged and hyper-converged infrastructures, combinable storage systems, scalable networking, and scalable attached storage (NAS) and other platforms.
But electromagnetic, optical, or silicon-based storage devices that work by connecting to hardware — devices and data connected to a computer or laptop, for example, through I/O – Input / Output), such as hard drives, flash drives, tape systems, and other types of media — or remotely, in the cloud.
In this article, we explain a little more about what data storage is, the importance of this process for business development and digitization itself, how companies can make the most of their capacity, and other information. See below:
How to classify data storage models?
The term storage can refer to a user’s data in general and more specifically to the integrated hardware and software systems used to capture, manage, and classify data. That includes information about applications, databases, data warehouses, files, backup devices, and cloud storage.
Data storage can be primary or secondary, depending on how the data is used and the type of media required to support the volume of information. Primary storage handles system workloads and applications that are used in daily and recurring processes and is therefore carried in memory (RAM) and other onboard devices such as the processor’s L1 cache.
Secondary storage includes data on flash, hard drive, tape, and other devices that require input/output (I/O) operations, and is therefore commonly preferred for operationalizing backups.
Cloud storage supports both processes, both for primary cloud-based operations performed directly on the web — remote SaaS software, for example — and for secondary storage operations without viewing requirements and constant changes, such as cloud storage.
While primary storage works independently of the Internet connection and thus can provide faster access to stored content, secondary storage often has a larger storage capacity.
In addition, it is more scalable, has a better cost-benefit ratio, is not subject to disasters and climatic problems, and allows the replication of information in multiple geographically distant infrastructures to guarantee more security. and provides very high availability, since the information can be viewed and changed from any device properly connected to the Internet.
That makes cloud storage service a priority today — digital transformation has allowed companies to implement hybrid models, adding a remote layer to bolster local storage.
Thus, to guarantee the benefits of the two models, companies tend to temporarily store daily routine data in primary storage devices, but with backup in the cloud and replication in more than one infrastructure to guarantee the necessary security for integrity and confidentiality of the information.
What types of devices are used for data storage?
Data storage media have different levels of capacity and speed. That includes cache memory, dynamic RAM (DRAM) or main memory, magnetic tape or magnetic disk, optical discs such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs, flash memory (cards, for example), external HDDs, pen drives, and many other forms of storage. memory storage interactions inherited from devices that can be inserted into hardware.
On the other hand, in computers, along with main memory, non-volatile memory is read-only (ROM), which means it does not allow data logging. On the contrary, PCs, and notebooks also include hard disk drives (HDDs and SSDs), which allow the recording of information.
SSDs store data on non-volatile flash memory chips. Unlike spinning disk drives, SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, allowing faster access to information, lower latency, and persistence of data in memory, even if parts of the structure are lost.
For this reason, SSDs are increasingly found in all types of computers, although they are still more expensive than HDDs, due to these advantages and their high data storage capacity.
Disk-based storage systems require battery backup or built-in capacitors to keep data persistent. Still, flash memory has yet to reach disk-equivalent strength, leading to hybrid arrays that integrate the two types of media.
See some of the architectures that can be created to ensure the availability and security of data in storage infrastructures.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
NAS systems (storage architecture attached to its network via an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) connection) — allow information to be centralized and accessed only by authorized users.
NAS devices are managed using a browser-based utility, and each node on the network assigns a unique IP address. That model offers the benefits of an on-premises cloud, which is flexible, efficient, scalable, and cost-effective. Thus, integrated NAS systems help organizations to collect and manage large volumes of information.
Hardware includes storage arrays or storage servers equipped with hard drives, flash drives, or a hybrid combination, and storage operating system software to provide array-based data services.
Management software generally still offers data protection tools to archive, clone information, manage and replicate snapshots, data reduction features (compression, duplication, and thin provisioning) are also patterns in this array-based storage model.
Direct Attached Storage (DAS)
DAS are external devices connected directly to the server. There are three basic network storage system designs of that model. In its simplest configuration, direct-attached storage (DAS) is done with the internal hard drive of a PC.
At an organizational level, DAS can be a group of drives on a server or a group of external drives that connect directly to the server through Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Fiber Channel (FC), or Internet SCSI (iSCSI).
Storage Area Network (SAN)
A SAN is made up of storage units (storage racks) connected to a control unit which, in turn, is connected to the server. Therefore, it is made up of HDs, switches, cables, and the main server. However, many companies choose to use two switches and more than one server to ensure the redundancy necessary to protect stored data.
A SAN can be designed to cover multiple data center locations that need high-performance storage. In that infrastructure, block devices appear to the host as locally attached storage, so each server on the network can access the shared storage as if it were a direct-attached drive.
How does that process work?
In an electromechanical disk, bytes store blocks of data within sectors. A hard drive is a circular platter coated with a thin layer of magnetic material. The disk is inserted into a spindle and rotates at speeds of up to 15,000 revolutions per minute (rpm).
As it spins, data is written to the surface using magnetic recording heads. A high-speed actuator arm positions the recording head in the first available space to allow data to be recorded in a circular, overlapping fashion for increased areal density.
In solid-state drives (SSDs), data is written to a NAND flash em pool, engineered with floating-gate transistors that allow the cell to retain an electrical charge. An SSD is not technically a drive, but it exhibits design characteristics similar to an integrated circuit, potentially featuring millions of nano transistors placed on millimeter-sized silicon chips.
What are the essential requirements of a storage infrastructure?
The essential requirements of storage infrastructure are capacity and security. Data storage is a very sensitive process that requires many layers of security to mitigate potential data failures, leaks, and theft.
Some modern storage systems require machine learning-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, which support data capture, analysis, and value extraction, but also enable greater security for accessing and sharing information.
Data storage capacity requirements define how much storage is needed to run an application, set of applications, or set of data. The storage capacity takes into account the volume of information and the type of data that will be inserted in these infrastructures, supports, and devices.
Therefore, enterprises must use effective tiered storage and security solutions to automate the insertion of data across different storage media, based on essential information management requirements: capacity, compliance, security, and performance.
How important is data storage?
We live in an information-centric world. As a society, we generate a large amount of data in all our actions, in addition to increasing our dependence on the use of information in devices and other solutions — and this directly impacts the way we interact, live, and change our consumption patterns daily.
For companies, the interpretation of this consumer behavior is a matter of survival: the more accurate and effective the interpretation of this data, the greater the responsiveness and competitive advantage of the business.
High availability is an essential requirement in that context: information must be available when and where users need it. Data storage, in turn, allows you to request and analyze strategic information at any time.
Clouds, virtualization, and data storage networks can also be used to enable cost reduction and capacity expansion, supporting development initiatives to support these information management requirements.
Thus, the data storage capacity is a critical component of the Digital Transformation context and one of the pillars for the digitization of processes. This happens because, to enable remote activities, it is necessary to guarantee the high availability of the information that will be used, either for decision-making or for the execution of collaborative work routines.
In this article, you discovered what data storage is, the importance of this process for the digitization of processes in the context of Digital Transformation, and how companies can take advantage of the capacity of storage infrastructures for the development of their business.
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