Fast Guide

Data center storage fast guide

Storage. It's one of the most important parts of a data center. We've put this data center storage fast guide together so that you have easy access to our best articles on all the basics, as well as information on how to put together a storage team, and troubleshooting.


The basics


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Checklist: Eight no-nonsense steps to buying storage products
Learn how to make effective storage decisions and purchases based on a simple eight-step process used by the Evaluator Group, a storage consultancy.

Choosing storage technologies
Because storage technologies and their terms are somewhat different for the personal or small business computer user than for the enterprise user, we've divided this guide into two parts. To the extent that some technologies depend on other technologies (for example, a storage area network depends on either Fibre Channel or iSCSI for its connection protocol), there is a certain amount of redundancy among some table entries.

Fast Reference: Storage
DAS, NAS, SAN? You know what they are, but how about a guide to knowing what's what? This Fast Reference gives the key points to each storage technology--including the pros and cons.

Five steps to managing storage growth
Need a plan to manage your increasing storage needs? Here are five steps you can take to get a handle on growth.

Minimize storage costs; cut out the fat
Make cutting costs an ongoing, long range effort by cutting the fat from your storage budget.


Who to work with?

Should you have a dedicated storage team?
Members of dedicated storage teams need to have as much political savvy as they do IT know-how.

Build the ultimate storage team
Learn why your storage team should be made up of people with experience in a variety of disciplines, such as networking, capacity planning, server administration and budgetary planning.

Ask the Expert: Should we work with storage specialists or systems vendors?
For data storage needs, should my company work with specialists like EMC and HDS or systems vendors like IBM and Sun?


Important topics

Connecting storage networks
Storage area networks, or SANs, come in many flavors these days, from those simply using a dedicated Gigabit-Ethernet switch and private subnet, to Fiber Channel solutions, to higher-end systems like IBM's Shark. But in this tip, we'll offer some things to consider when attaching the servers that make up the SAN.

Storage 911: How to troubleshoot your storage
It's easy to take your storage network for granted when everything's running smoothly and your data is safe. But what happens when your SAN fails?

Storage management software helps when hard disks fail
Imagine that one of your servers experiences a random hard disk failure. What would you do, assuming that the hard disk was not part of a fault-tolerant volume set?

If you are like most administrators, you would probably think about replacing the drive and restoring a backup. Restoring a backup is great if the failed hard drive contains data, but what if the drive that failed contained the server's operating system?

Getting a handle on tiered storage
As companies face greater volumes of data, adequate storage and retrieval of that data is becoming a serious concern. Issues such as storage cost and government regulation are converging, forcing companies to rethink their basic approach to data storage. High-end storage is very expensive, and using top-shelf storage for all data assets is no longer a cost-efficient solution. Even more importantly, companies are increasingly obligated to meet regulatory and legal requirements. An organization must now account for what data they have, where it is located and who is accessing it (details that cannot be determined by just adding hard drives). Tiered storage is emerging as one means to address this change in paradigm.

Backup guidelines: Keeping off-site storage 'in-house'
You may have considered handling your long-term tape media storage internally for security or cost-efficiency reasons. This tip provides tape handling and storage information that can save you some future pains and unpleasant surprises.

This was first published in June 2006

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