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The Value of Storage How to Choose the Best Storage at the Right Price

Do you know that the wrong type of storage can be harmful to the health of your business? Do you know what type of storage you need? Do you know how to choose the best storage at the right price? Many people choose the wrong type of storage for their specific needs. The result can be slower access and operation of the system, it can be slower boot time, or it can affect your bottom line because it costs more than you actually need to spend. As I work with servers and individual systems for our clients, I generally see one of three problems with storage choices companies (or individuals) have made: • They have the wrong type of storage • They don’t have enough storage • They don’t have the proper redundancy in case of a failure When choosing storage, you must first look at your server and consider how the new storage will be used.

Will it be used primarily for programs/applications and email, or will it be used just for storage of images, documents and other files? If you are using the new drive (storage) for applications, you need to choose a higher-cost, lower-capacity drive, such as a SCSI. This type of drive will run much faster and will be generally more reliable. If you are using the new drive just for storage, you will want to get as much storage capacity as possible at the lowest cost. You might want to consider a SATA drive.

This type of drive will run a bit slower and cost less than a SCSI drive. The new terabyte drives might be an option if you are purchasing a drive simply for large storage capacity. A graphic artist, for example, will need to store a large number of images and both templates and files containing images and other types of graphic files, which use a lot of space. If your business has moved to paperless operations, you will also need a large amount of storage to handle the image files that are replacing paper. An individual might need a huge amount of storage for photos, music files, e-books and movies.

Opening or retrieving these files doesn’t need to be as fast as running a program or operating a company’s email accessibility. Why do email and programs require a higher cost, lower capacity drive? You need to understand that email and applications must operate quickly. Email is actually like a database everyone in the company uses. It must be fast and reliable. Finally, many individuals and businesses do not have the proper redundancy to protect them in the event of a failure of some sort. Redundancy is basically a backup of what is stored on the drive.

If a client is storing important data or applications on a drive, we generally create a redundant drive as backup. This way if there is a failure, such as a drive crash, the critical files are immediately available. Recovering from a failure with a non-redundant system will require locating the correct backup tape, which is stored offline, and running restore operations from the tape. This is a much slower process than switching to a different drive. Choosing storage for your computer or for a server is not just a matter of cost. Don’t put your business or personal files at risk by choosing the wrong storage hardware.

The three things to consider in choosing your storage option are: • What type of storage do I need? Is it the right kind of storage for my needs? • Will I have enough storage? • Can I set up the proper redundancy in case of a failure? Your answers to these questions will help you make wise choices about getting the right kind of storage at the best price. Stay tuned for my next comments: I’ll be writing about new Solid State Drives, and this is huge news! Copyright (c) 2007 Thomas Burns.

Thomas Burns, founder and CEO of Intelligent Networks Services (INS) has been an industry expert in computer network and technology for over 20 years. Under his careful supervision, INS has become a leading, full service IT support company servicing small to mid-sized businesses in Silicon Valley. INS’s goal is to save their client’s money by focusing on preventative maintenance and intelligent network designs. For more information go to: http://www.intelligentns.com

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