6 keys to data storage
4. Know your options. The good news, says Maluf, is there's a myriad of architectures and technologies that can help mitigate some of the issues associated with storage. “And they can be implemented inside and/or outside the data center,” he said. “It’s important to recognize, however, that tools by themselves can’t be enough; policies and procedures need to be implemented and enforced, so the overall result over time is positive, providing true incremental progress.” Technologies such as storage virtualization, data de-duplication, remote replication, thin provisioning, encryption, and more can all substantially simplify both the operational cost and the management complexity equations, said Maluf. “[They] can be especially effective when applied in combination and leveraging both on-remises investments and robust, offsite cloud offerings,” he said. “A healthy dose of ‘hype-watching’ can also help, since sometimes new features can seem appealing, but their maturity may still need to be determined.” All in all, Maluf recognized most organizations are embracing server virtualization, which provides them with advantages when considering adding new capabilities and updating their storage architectures.
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5. Implement best practices. Best practices for server virtualization have to include alternate sites, said Maluf, so establishing strong partnerships with reliable service providers can become a strategic asset for a long-term data storage strategy. “Even backup and archiving requirements can be satisfied with new approaches based on near-real time replication and synchronization solutions that leverage geographic dispersion,” he said. “With cloud storage services becoming more mature, these new architectures are helping healthcare IT organizations dramatically decrease expenditures and increase operational flexibility.” Maluf said although it’s tempting to apply a quick Band-Aid to fix the problem, such an approach can either mask the architectural or progress gaps and/or exacerbate the real problem.
6. Look ahead. “While we wait for paradigm shifts in computational building blocks, such as new non-volatile memory, nanostores and photonics, to become tangible and accessible, IT architects, system administrators and infrastructure engineers can aim for a model where well-understood requirements, emerging technologies, and solid best practices coalesce as part of a comprehensive strategy to aid with realistically improving their data storage challenges,” said Maluf.