Just how important is Data Storage to your business? A business’s data is one of its most valuable assets, and therefore how and where to store it is a critical decision.
There are four main options when it comes to data storage:
- Data residing on-premise: data lives on hardware in a company’s server room or in the region, such as South Africa. This data is hosted by the business and not a 3rd party.
- Data residing off-premise: this is a local or international solution hosted and supported by a third party.
- Data residing in the cloud: this data lives in a private or public cloud environment.
- A hybrid of the two: this this case the primary data sits on-premise but it is replicated to a public/private cloud infrastructure that is used for backups, high availability and specific applications that are being migrated.
As with everything else in the business world, each storage system has its pros and cons:
- Data residing locally (on-premise): offers quick access, but the security of the data can be more easily compromised.
- Data residing in the cloud: offers enterprise-level storage for business information but this comes at a cost for large amounts of data.
- A hybrid of the two: offers both local and off-site copies, but it can be expensive to run on-premise as well as cloud environments.
(It is worth noting that the recent sea cable damage resulting in slow internet access across South Africa is an example of a risk related to off-premise or cloud based hosting.)
Trends are showing us that while there is a perception that all IT will eventually be cloud-based, according to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), the hybrid cloud infrastructure is becoming the actual standard.
Whatever storage system suits a business best, it is always a good idea for the data to be managed through an Enterprise Resource Planning application (ERP), which ensures an effective integrated management system. New technologies in this space are opening up opportunities across all levels of businesses, making data storage more affordable.
This is important to note because the need for bigger storage capacity is continuing to grow, fueled by the likes of data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT). A report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) noted, “A growing share of traditional server/storage spend, for example, is now driven by workloads related to the deployment of these new technologies on the back-end.”
This means that businesses are having to balance the growing need for more data storage, with the increasing costs related to the management of the data.
Luckily the South African Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) landscape is changing. In the past, smaller businesses would have to keep their data storage systems fairly small-scale due to affordability. However, we are now seeing enterprise-level data storage technology becoming a feasible option for smaller businesses due to accessibility to operational expenditure (OpEx) models.
According to Gartner, the purpose of capital expenditure (CapEx) is to buy assets with a useful life greater than the current year, but with operational expenditure (OpEx) a business would have ongoing costs to run its operations. Where CapEx requires an upfront investment, OpEx allows payment on a monthly or annual basis. CapEx is accounted for over useful life of three to ten years, while it is accounted for in the current month or year with OpEx.
How does a company decide which storage system suits them best?
As simple starting point is for the management team to ask the following questions:
- How important is the speed of availability?
- Is our system prone to bandwidth limitations?
- Do we need off-site staff to access the data?
- What are the compliance requirements for the specific industry, such as data retention and data residency?
- What are the robotic process automation (RPO) or recovery time objective (RTO) requirements for backup and disaster recovery?
- What is the total amount of data?
- What will the data be used for?
Data storage depends on customer strategy and objectives. The team at SEIDOR AFRICA can help you with proper consultation and architectural advice to select the right data storage option.
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Written by Terrence Chowles