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Which data storage option is best for you?

Not all data storage environments are created equal – and it’s important for you to know all your options before you choose.
20 July 2020 Michael Holtzhausen

Data storage has come a long way since the days of punch cards and textile looms. Thanks to technology and streamlined resources, we can now easily store and modify petabytes of data in a fraction of the time it used to take in the past. This has opened up the market for more diverse ways to manage data and has expanded data storage options for businesses.

But the array of choices can be daunting. There are several key considerations to take into account before you choose how to store your data. So we thought we’d make them easier for you to understand. Here’s a breakdown of the main data storage methods and what makes each of them unique.

On-premise data storage

On-premise storage is the oldest data storage model and is often considered as the bedrock of On-premises infrastructure . It requires local hardware on which all the data will be stored.  All the storage resources (servers, data centres, computers and other devices) are owned and managed by organisations which are also responsible for the maintenance and security.

What you get:

  • Single tenancy. An organisation with on-premise data storage doesn’t share its tenancy with any other enterprise. This option is preferred by businesses with stringent compliance obligations seeking to make their data security airtight.
  • Purpose-built systems. Single tenancy also allows businesses with on-premise data storage to build their infrastructure for the unique needs of their business. This level of customisation is hard to achieve with other data storage models.
  • Complete visibility and control. On-premise data centres and servers are managed solely by the businesses they are in. This gives business owners and IT heads an exceptionally comprehensive oversight into their data environments.

Businesses that are likely to have on-premise data storage include financial institutions, health services and large enterprises that started out with on-premise servers and are unwilling or struggling to migrate to cloud or hybrid network environments.

Data storage in the cloud

When we speak of storing data in the cloud, we usually mean the public cloud. A business procures storage space from a third-party provider that’s responsible for the deployment, management and security of the cloud environment. When you store your data in the cloud, you share the infrastructure with other cloud tenants.

What you get:

  • Unlimited scalability. Cloud storage uses a pay-as-you-go model, so you can acquire more space as your business grows with minimal additional setup required. You can scale down your cloud environment without any hardware going to waste.
  • No maintenance obligations. All the maintenance and support of data comes down to the third-party storage provider because they own all the hardware and networking infrastructure. This is a valuable time saver for any business.
  • High reliability.  Cloud infrastructure environments are built with high resiliency by implementing redundant components so that businesses experience minimal downtime in the event of a failure.

Several types of small to medium-sized businesses use the cloud to store their data. It’s ideal for any business that wants instant access to its data anytime and anywhere without having to invest in dedicated hardware or software.

Hybrid data storage

As the name suggests, hybrid data storage involves a combination of the on-premise and cloud storage models. It’s an approach that’s becoming increasingly popular as more businesses realise the complexity of their data needs. Hybrid data storage allows businesses to stratify their data and store some of it in the cloud and the remainder on local servers.

What you get:

  • Phased migration. Organisations that are storing their data locally can gradually migrate some of it to the cloud in a manageable way.
  • The best of both. A hybrid environment gives businesses the unlimited scalability of the cloud and the security of on-premise storage. A business can store more sensitive data on local servers and less sensitive data in the cloud.

Hybrid data storage is popular among large enterprises that want the cost-effectiveness of the cloud and the security of local storage. They can use the cloud to store “low-risk” data such as web-based data and keep the business-critical data such as financial records and customer information on their local servers.

Look no further than STS

Now that you understand the difference between data storage models, you can make an informed decision for your business when choosing your vendors. Luckily for you, STS can help you with all three. We provision our data storage, backup and archiving on-premise, in the cloud and as a service to achieve hybrid networking environments. Browse our solutions page for more information.

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