Storage may not be the most exciting element of a business, but if you think about just how much of a business relies on its data storage solution - everything from running applications to completing market research - having an optimized solution is pretty important. It’s fairly easy for technology to get bulky, expensive and slow, but with a little research into how to simplify your solution and keep costs down, your storage solution can become a powerful tool.

Simplifying Enterprise Storage

For businesses that want to completely eliminate their responsibility for managing a storage system, turning to a storage provider is a viable option. Cloud storage providers, in particular, can offer cost-effective storage. Of course, for those businesses with heavy compliance regulations, keeping sensitive data in-house while keeping less sensitive data with an external provider is more secure.

For enterprises that want their own internal data storage, it is best to start with network attached storage (NAS). A NAS filer is basically an extra server that connects to a network and rapidly adds extra storage to that network. However, at a certain point, too many NAS filers can overwork the local area network (LAN), affecting performance.

When a NAS starts becoming too slow, creating a storage area network (SAN) is the next best step. A SAN is a collection of connected computers that are used solely for storing data. An Internet small computer systems interface (iSCSI) is a standard SAN option, but if your workload is particularly large, a fiber channel SAN (FC SAN) is the best choice.

Cost-Cutting Strategies

There are several ways to cut data storage costs:

    1. Data Deduplication
    Data deduplication essentially makes it possible to squeeze a higher volume of data into a smaller amount of space. Needing less space means spending less money on new hardware, as well as less time spent completing backups or data restores.

    2. Flash Storage
    For a long time, businesses have selected between hard disk drives )HDD) and solid state drives (SSD) for storage media. HDDs offer decent performance and a good price. SSDs offer better performance but are much more expensive. Companies often use a combination of the two so they can get the SSD performance but alleviate HDD pricing. Now, companies may want to compare flash storage vs. hard drives when looking for ways to cut costs. A flash array offers performance comparable to SSDs but at a much more affordable price.

    3. Shop for Deals
    This tip isn’t the most exciting one, but sometimes looking for a good deal from a vendor is the best way to save on hardware or maintenance costs. Often, these deals aren't advertised offers, but if you ask for a price reduction or a maintenance guarantee, many vendors will willingly negotiate.

    4. Consolidate
    Sprawling data over multiple servers quickly gets expensive because the more servers you have, the higher the upkeep costs. Consolidating data and eliminating old equipment that has reached the end of its life is a fairly easy way to cut costs and ensure you are getting the most out of your storage system.

    5. Cloud Storage
    As mentioned above, cloud storage is a great option for reducing management responsibilities, but the cloud also can save money on both maintenance and actual storage costs, as cloud providers offer rates on a per-use basis. Cloud databases with automatic scaling, in particular, can ensure that you paying only for the space you are actually using from moment to moment.

It sounds simple, but a storage solution is a powerful tool. Getting the most out of it is all about cutting out slow, clunky systems and replacing them with something more efficient and cost effective.