“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.”
– Daniel Keys Moran
Today's high-level computational needs, such as those of big data projects, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT), require companies and consumers to have data storage. The protection against data loss due to disaster, failure, or fraud brings requirements for enormous data storage volumes.
Therefore, enterprises may also use data storage as backup solutions to prevent data loss. In this blog you will learn more about data storage.
What is Data Storage?
Digital information can be classified into two types : input data and output data. Input data is provided by the users. Output data is provided by the computers. Output data cannot be produced by the computer without input data. Input data can be inserted directly into a computer but it is time consuming.
Random Access Memory can be used in this case, although the memory retention and storage capacity of RAM is limited. In Read Only Memory, the data can be viewed but not edited. This dilemma is solved by data storage.
In its simplest form, data storage refers to the digital recording of files and documents and their subsequent saving in a storage system. To maintain and recover the data as needed, storage systems may rely on optical, electromagnetic or other media.
In the case of an unanticipated computer failure or cyberattack, data storage makes it simple to back up files for storage and speedy recovery. Users can save data in a device with the help of data storage. The data is retained even after the computer is powered down, which is not possible in case of RAM.
Users can instruct the computer to access data from data storage instead of manually entering data. Input data can be read by the computer from various storage devices and the output can be saved in the same source or in other storage devices. This data storage can also be shared with others by the user.
Modern computers can be connected to storage devices directly or through a network. Users can instruct the data to access the data or store other data in the storage devices. Data storage has two basic foundations, the form in which the data is stored and the devices in which it is stored.
Physical hard drives, disc drives, USB drives, and virtually on the cloud are all options for data storage. Reliability, how robust the security features are, and the expense to develop and maintain the infrastructure are some of the most crucial aspects to take into account when it comes to data storage.
One can find the option that best suits the requirements of their company by browsing through various data storage systems and applications.
Also Read | Guide to Data Profiling
Categories of Data Storage Devices
In order to store data, storage devices are necessary. Data storage devices can be divided into two main categories. They are given below.
Direct Area Storage (DAS)
Direct area Storage is also known as Direct Attached Storage. The storage is directly connected to the computer which is accessing it and is in the intermediate area.
Decent local backup services are provided by DAS but the sharing of data is limited. The main examples of DAS devices are : hard disk drives (HDD), compact discs (CDs), flash drives, digital video discs (DVDs) and solid-state drives (SSD).
Network Based Storage
In network based storage, more than one computer can access the data via a network, as a result of which data sharing and data collaboration is more effective. It has off-site storage capability, which makes it better suited for data protection and backup.
Network based Storage setup can be divided into two types : storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS).
The differences between NAS and SAN are given below :
Difference between NAS and SAN
- A network of multiple storage devices of different types which includes SSD and flash storage, hybrid cloud storage, hybrid storage, cloud storage and backup software and appliances is called SAN.
- It has a block storage system.
- It works with Fiber Channel Network.
- It is optimized for multiple users.
- It gives faster performance.
- It is highly expandable.
- It has a higher cost and complex setup.
Types of Storage Devices
SSD and Flash Storage
Data can be written and stored using flash memory chips using Flash storage. It is a solid-state technology. Flash memory is used to store data in a solid-state disk (SSD) flash drive.
A solid-state system has no moving parts compared to HDDs and therefore, has less latency, as a result of which fewer SSDs are needed. Almost every modern SSD is flash based, so a solid-state system is synonymous with flash storage.
All-flash arrays are very expensive as compared to hybrid storage even though they offer higher output. Hybrid approach can be utilized by mixing storage capacity of hard drives and speed of flash.
For different storage needs, different technologies can be analyzed by companies using balanced storage infrastructure. Hybrid storage is an economical way for transition from traditional HDDs without opting entirely for flash.
In comparison to storage networks or on-premise hard drives, cloud storage offers a scalable, affordable option. You can save data and files with cloud service providers at an off-site location that you can access via a dedicated private network connection or the open internet.
The supplier ensures that you always have access to the data by hosting, securing, managing, and maintaining the servers and related infrastructure.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
Private and public cloud components are combined in hybrid cloud storage. Organizations can select which cloud to use for data storage with hybrid cloud storage. A private cloud environment is typically better appropriate for highly regulated data that must adhere to tight archiving and replication requirements.
Less sensitive information can be kept on the public cloud. Some businesses utilize hybrid clouds to add public cloud storage to their internal storage networks.
Backup software and Appliances
Data loss from catastrophe, malfunction, or fraud is prevented via backup storage and appliances. Periodic backups of data and software are made to a different, backup device, and those backups are used for disaster recovery.
HDDs, SSDs, tape drives, and servers are all examples of backup appliances, but backup storage, sometimes known as backup-as-a-service, can also be provided as a service (BaaS). Similar to other as-a-service solutions, BaaS offers an affordable way to protect data by securing it at a remote place with scalability.
Also Read | Types of Data Visualization
Forms of Data Storage
File storage, block storage, and object storage are the three basic ways that data can be recorded and stored.
File storage is a hierarchical storage methodology which is used to organize and store data. It is also known as file-level or file-based storage. This means that data is kept in files, which are then arranged in folders, which are then arranged in a hierarchy of directories and subdirectories.
Data is stored in blocks using a technology known as block storage, sometimes known as block-level storage. The blocks are then kept as distinct units, each labeled with a different identification. For computing scenarios requiring quick, effective, and dependable data transport, developers use block storage.
A data storage architecture for managing vast amounts of unstructured data is object storage, often known as object-based storage.
This data doesn't fit into a standard relational database with columns and rows, or can't be simply structured into one. Email, videos, images, online pages, sensor data, audio files, and other media and web content are some examples (textual or non-textual).
Also Read | What is Data Encryption?
Data storage for Business
For enterprise applications, local storage and computer memory may not offer sufficient capacity, storage protection, many users' access, speed, or performance. Therefore, in addition to NAS storage systems, most enterprises also use some form of SAN.
SAN is a high-speed and specialized network that connects servers and storage devices, often known as the network behind the servers. An any-to-any device can bridge over the network using connected components such as directors and switches due to the communication infrastructure's provision of physical connections.
The storage area network (SAN) can be seen as a development of the storage bus idea. With the aid of comparable components like wide-area networks and local area networks (LANs), this approach facilitates the interconnection of storage devices and servers (WANs).
A management layer that arranges the connections, storage components, and computer systems is also a component of a SAN. Data transfers are made secure and reliable by this layer.
Traditionally, a server could only support a limited number of storage devices. A SAN, on the other hand, adds networking flexibility and enables sharing of a common storage utility across a single server or a large number of heterogeneous servers spread across numerous data centers.
The conventional dedicated connection between storage and a server as well as the idea that the server effectively owns and administers the storage devices are also eliminated by the SAN.
Consequently, a network may contain numerous storage components, such as disc, magnetic tape, and optical storage. Additionally, the storage tool may be placed a long way from the servers it uses.
Components of SAN
Information is supported by the storage infrastructure. As a result, the storage infrastructure needs to be compatible with the company's goals and model of operation.
Improved network accessibility, data accessibility, and system management are all benefits of SAN technology. Just adding more, faster storage devices won't cut it in this scenario. The foundation of a good SAN is a decent design.
Servers, storage appliances, networking hardware, and software are SAN's primary building blocks, together with Fiber Channel.
The connectivity of the server and storage components, which commonly employ Fiber Channel, is the first aspect of any SAN implementation that has to be taken into account. SANs, like LANs, connect storage interfaces to one another across greater distances and in a variety of network configurations.
The server infrastructure, which consists of different server platforms, is what drives all SAN solutions. The requirement for SANs grows as a result of initiatives like server consolidation and online commerce, which highlights the significance of network storage.
Disk systems and tape systems are two types of storage systems. HDDs, SSDs, or Flash drives can be a part of the disc system. Tape drives, tape autoloaders, and tape libraries are possible components of the tape system.
Storage units and servers are connected by means of software and hardware components known as SAN connection. Hubs, switches, directors, and routers are examples of hardware components.
With a complete storage solution that integrates and updates the current IT infrastructure while lowering expenses, one can transform and improve their organization.
Also Read | Data Management: Types, Benefits and Challenges
Data storage concerns can be eliminated by streamlining the management of data in cloud or on-premises with a single platform solution with all-flash technology.
To maintain the continuity and dependability of your data center and network infrastructure during regular business operations, it is essential to save key information and files.
The objective is that your company won't need to utilize disaster recovery for your data. Even worse, you don't want to find yourself in a circumstance where data loss is imminent and you don't have a disaster recovery strategy in place.