Home > Infrastructure > How to Choose the Best Data Storage Solution for Business in 2019

How to Choose the Best Data Storage Solution for Business in 2019

Man is working in data centre with laptop.

Each year, the need for businesses to have access to reliable and affordable storage servers increases. This could be due to increased regulatory requirements to store customer data for longer periods of time, the importance of data redundancy due to cyber threats or simply because the amount of data we are storing is getting larger. 

More...

But one thing is clear, it can be pretty difficult to navigate the countless offline and cloud storage options available.

In this article, we’ll outline how to choose the right business data storage solution, what hardware requirements to consider, and outline our top picks for your next data storage system.

Selecting the Right Storage Server Solution Type

What Enterprise Data Storage Options are Available?

In order to select the right storage server for your business, you must first review the options available to you. We've split these options into three main categories and described them below:

Header

Direct Attached Storage

Storage Area Network

Cloud Data Storage

What is it?

On-site digital storage which is directly connected to servers, computers, and other devices in order to form part of a storage network. This could be an external hard drive or a NAS.

An on-site centralized data storage solution which pools the resources of many servers to deliver high-performance and expandable storage. 

A server or cluster of servers which is hosted remotely in a secure data center. Users can purchase additional servers for cloud storage without incurring expensive hardware purchases.

Pros:

Affordable


Easy to setup and retain physical access

Fast file transfers as data is hosted on-site


Ability to increase storage capacity by adding new resources to pool

No up-front hardware costs


Easy to setup and maintain


Low cost for server management without hiring staff

Cons:

Not ideal for redundant storage


Difficult to expand storage requirements


Limited physical security

Most expensive to setup and maintain


May not have infrastructure to setup security and fire suppression of servers

Monthly server rental cost


Data hosted off-network, download and upload speeds limited to your local connection speed

Example

Cost

1TB RAID 10 Storage


4 Bay NAS - $250

4x 1TB SSD - $460

$710

HPE Nimble Storage 


Starting at $200,000+

1TB RAID10 Storage


Starting at $174/month.

Statistic: Revenue from enterprise storage systems market worldwide from 2014 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Choosing the Backup Storage Type

Now that you are familiar with the three main storage solution types, you'll have to determine which one is best for your business.

Consider the following personas to help you make your decision:

Direct Attached Storage

  • My business data storage requirements are modest and I do not need to store mission-critical data.
  • I want an IT storage solution that is tolerant to hardware failure, but it doesn't need to be physically protected from intruders or environmental threats. 
  • Because my storage requirements are small, I want a simple solution like a NAS or external hard drive that I can just plugin and drag files to.

Storage Area Network

  • My business data storage requirements are complex and expand rapidly on a regularly basis
  • I am more interested in making a large up-front hardware payment than paying a regularly monthly fee
  • I have staff on site to maintain and monitor servers
  • My office is secure from physical and environmental threats and has redundant power and networking

Cloud / Remote Storage

  • I want a storage solution that can grow with my business without an expensive hardware bill
  • I need to store important business data which is protected from physical access and flood, fire, or other environmental damage
  • I want to reduce the need for additional staff by having access to a support and server management team to help me manage my Cloud storage.

Hardware Selection

Once you have determined which business data storage may be the right fit for your needs, you need to think about which hardware you should select.

Here are some things to consider when choosing various hardware components of a storage server:

Hard Drive

Solid State and NVMe hard drives are a popular option these days due to their increased read/write speeds and decreased failure rates. If your storage server needs are modest, we'd recommend choosing one of these drives. 

However, if you need to store a large volume of data but don't need to read / write to the drives at a high rate, standard Hard Disk Drives will offer you greater storage capacity at a lower price tag. You can offset the performance and reliability issues with HDD by setting these drives up in a RAID configuration. 

RAID

No storage server would be complete without some kind of RAID configuration. Simply put, RAID is a technology used to create data redundancy by copying or spreading data across multiple hard drives. This is achieved in a variety of ways using different RAID levels, but the result is increased performance in reading / writing data and if one hard drive fails, the data in the RAID array is not lost.

For an enterprise storage solution, we recommend RAID-10 with a battery backup unit for the perfect mix of price and performance. This requires four hard drives to operate. So for 1TB of storage, you would have 4x 1TB drives.

For more information on RAID, check out our article Everything You Wanted to Know About RAID (and Why You Need It).

Processor

For the majority of business data storage projects, the processor is not a critical component in the hardware selection process. For optimal performance, we recommend one of the latest generation Intel server processors, but any modern CPU is likely to meet your needs as the server is more dependant on the hard drives and networking. 

Memory

Similar to the processor, data storage servers are generally not memory intensive. In order to facilitate operating system usage and other applications on the server, we'd generally recommend 16GB - 32GB, which is fairly standard for modern servers of any kind.

Networking

You don't want the network card of your storage server to be the bottleneck to quickly downloading and uploading files to the server, so a 1Gbps or 10Gbps network card and connection are ideal. 

Cloud Storage Server Recommendations

We've selected a few of our popular Cloud Storage configurations depending on some sample business requirements. Keep in mind that we can always develop a custom solution if you have a large amount of data you need to store or other custom requirements.

Header

Small

Medium

Large

Description

An affordable option.

Increased redundancy and storage.

Large storage and redundancy needs.

Specs

Intel E3 1230v1

8GB RAM

2x 1TB HDD

Software RAID 1

Xeon D 1540

32GB RAM

4x 2TB HDD

Hardware RAID 10

E3 1270 V6

32GB RAM

4x 6TB HDD

Hardware RAID 10

Price

$50/month

$180/month

$300/month

Order

Direct Attached Storage Recommendations

Header

Small

Medium

Large

Description

Ideal for small offices and IT enthusiasts

Increased redundancy and storage.

Large storage and redundancy needs.

Specs

Synology 5 bay NAS DiskStation DS1019+

Synology 8 bay NAS DiskStation DS1819+

Synology 12 bay NAS DiskStation DS2419+

Price

NAS - $640

5x 1TB HDD $230

Total: $870

NAS - $932

8x 1TB SSD - $912

Total: $1844

NAS - $1499

12x 2TB SSD - $2688

Total:  $4187

Next Steps

You are now familiar with the various types of storage servers and the hardware considerations relevant to each one. If you still have questions, you can always book a free consultation with our team. We'll help you setup the best storage server for your business to meet your needs and budget.


Ryan Jarvis

Ryan Jarvis

Ryan is a Systems Administrator at ServerMania. He focuses on developing and supporting dedicated, hybrid, and cloud hosting infrastructures.

  • Very well explained! you clear difference between physical server and cloud server. Nowadays every organization using cloud server for storage ,for application hosting ;using cloud server its really cost effective ,low infrastructure cost no need to hire any administrator for it.