|By Deney Dentel||
|September 29, 2012 06:00 PM EDT||
Consolidating data in an organized and highly accessible yet secure fashion is one concept many organizations are finding is helping increase productivity throughout the company. Unified storage, which is also referred to network unified storage (NUS), is a concept that the principles of cloud architecture are built upon - the idea of a single area to pool resources for data storage and application virtualization. The effects this will have on organizations will vary depending on several factors from hardware utilized, knowledge of staff and adherence to the IT service management practices.
Sometimes the need to consolidate a business's information systems is because of an organic internal growth that has occurred over time. Other times, business mergers have patched together dissonant systems into one messy but functional infrastructure. Either practice often yields the same result - a system that mostly conforms to meet business needs but is not completely optimized because of hardware and software relationship nuances. Often, a good IT staff can fit these pieces together with solid scripting and tightening of access protocols but such practice will require consistent maintenance as time goes on.
Piecing different hardware utilizing different platforms complicates the IT management process and can lead to downtime and sometimes data loss where time-consuming recovery processes will be necessary. Migrating to a single system can prove very beneficial to a company who wishes to simplify processes and have the peace of mind knowing that disaster can be easily diverted and rectified, should the worst case scenario come to light.
Such systems are available at relatively low costs, especially looking in retrospect at what prices for computer systems were a mere 10 years ago. Systems like the NorStor NS2000 system are designed as out-of-the-box for demanding enterprise processing but at prices affordable to small and medium businesses. The NS2000 is the first of its kind to utilize the Storage Bridge Bay (SBB) - a data management solution in the server infrastructure that is completely redundant as well as fault tolerant. One of the most important IT services, data backup and recovery, is handled automatically by intuitive mirroring techniques made possible by the systems archival of system snapshots used for data replication as a continuous data protection (CDP) solution. When maintenance is required, the system can be quickly serviced as drive bays are hot swappable which coupled with SBB feature, downtime for end users is minimal (or non-existent) as is interaction needed from IT staff.
Another method being adopted by many companies is the migration to the cloud. Cloud services exist to provide access to all the resources of an internal network infrastructure but through a web interface off site of the company. Though creating your own networking environment in itself is a way of cloud computing, using a true hosted cloud service has its advantages.
A cloud can eliminate the need for a robust team of in house IT professionals. A company can pay a usage fee to utilize a cloud's resources whether it's for the sake of data storage or application hosting. This results in substantial savings as the network infrastructure is managed by the cloud provider. A cloud environment can exist on several tiers, whether it is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS), depending on the required level of interaction and internal support needed for individual companies. A cloud can simply exist as database backup archival as well, where an internal system is supplemented by an offsite, secure storage center.
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