Overview of Current Storage Systems Used In Large Data Centers

Overview of Current Storage Systems Used In Large Data Centers

Companies, regardless of size, require IT operations for business continuity. Lack of real-time access to information can lead to redundancy and impaired business operations. Management of such systems requires dedicated servers, personnel, and equipment. This may be out of the reach of, or too costly for regular companies. This is where data centers come in. They offer dedicated and reliable infrastructure. One of the core data center pillars is the storage systems. A storage system refers to a device or resource capable of storing data, with added allocation for access and retrieval. Though the data centers serve some purposes, the primary service is data storage for clients. With this in mind, the selected storage system should serve the following purposes:

  • Reliability and availability
  • Efficiency and performance
  • Cost reduction and effectiveness

The following is an overview of current storage systems used in large data centers:

Solid-State Storage

This is perhaps one of the oldest data storage systems. Continuous developments and innovations in the field, however, mean that it is still in use in data centers. Solid-state storage systems are available in three forms, solid-state drives, solid-state cards, and solid-state modules. All utilize integrated circuit, thus avoiding the lower speed associated with drives that contain moving parts. The lack of mechanical moving parts also allows for a correct lifespan prediction. This allows large data centers to manage their resources. Another primary benefit accorded through the integrated circuits is less cooling requirements, less weight, and lower power requirements. This can greatly reduce the footprint of a data center through reduced space requirements.

One of the latest and most innovative solid-state data storage systems is the Memory Channel Storage (MCS). The primary principle of MCS is ensuring high performance by reducing the distance of the I/O through moving the main memory modules closer to the servers. This allows for faster responses (reduces data latency by as much as 90%), efficient use of data center server resources and lower management, power, and cooling costs. This can have a significant economic impact on the large data centers.

File storage systems

This has been in extensive usage in data centers. In this system, the data is stored in a hierarchal tree, with the files portioned into several parts. The hierarchal tree nodes represent the directories, with parallel execution of applications. Various data related activities such as sharing, modification and such requires the user to know the physical address, with centralized client-server architecture. This requires the client access the information for reference or modification and then upload the information back again to the server. This results in a compromise of confidentiality, security, and redundancy due to the time-consuming nature of the process.

Object Storage System

Unlike file systems, object storage systems are unstructured; the files are stored in a pool, rather than a hierarchal system. The system also features more comprehensive and detailed meta-data than you would find in the file system. The system is particularly crucial for large data centers, as the servers utilize unique identifiers to retrieve information, without any knowledge of their physical location, thus enhancing security, scalability, as well as faster response times.

A benefit of the particular advantage of object storage systems to large data centers is the ability to store information that can grow without bound at a relatively low cost. This enables the data company to manage information for many clients at a viable cost. This is especially important to small and medium enterprises seeking low-cost data management services. In many cases, object storage system provides the basis for the cloud storage system.

Cloud Storage

This is perhaps the latest innovation in data storage systems. Cloud storage involves the storage of data and information on multiple virtual servers with subsets available for individual client’s data. Though the information is stored on virtual and interconnected resources, it is important to note that this does not interfere with the necessity for on-premises storage systems. Do note that moving data to users is easier than actually moving users to the cloud. With this in mind, the large data centers act as access points between the user and the data stored in the cloud. In the same vein, some data, for example, information that requires extensive user manipulation and UI interaction is hard to move. In such cases, data transmission to and from the cloud tends to be slow. Thus, the large data centers still require on-premises solid computing and storage systems.

The primary benefits of cloud storage systems include speed, reduced number of supporting hardware, easier replication, and more efficient and successful data recovery options. Also, due to added versatility, cloud storage allows large data centers to attend to small, medium and large companies with minimal alterations in the required resources. This versatility allows them to be more efficient and serve a wider clientele. However, the main concern is security, and bandwidth limitations, as users require reliable internet to access cloud storage.

The modern business infrastructure, a well as the regarding of information as a business asset, means that more and more businesses are turning to data centers for assistance. The data centers, on the other hand, require updating on the storage methods to handle this need. Whether solid-state file systems or cloud storage, the systems selected must be intelligent, and easily adaptable for the most efficient data management. At the moment, most large data centers utilize an amalgam of the above storage systems through maximizing on individual positives.