Companies collect thousands of data points each day about their products, transactions, processes, and customers. With this abundance of information, many face the issue of how to store the data they’ve collected so it’s both secure and accessible. Whether you’re looking for faster data access, more secure data storage, or a more cost-effective data strategy, there are a myriad of storage options to suit your needs.
Assessing your data storage needs
When considering a new data storage solution, it’s difficult to know where to start. Data management solutions are constantly changing, and you’re likely looking for better ways to store, organize, and access both current and legacy data. Your data management strategy will ultimately determine your ability to make better data-driven decisions, which can help your organization make smarter investments, allocate resources more efficiently, and cut unnecessary costs.
Assessing your data storage needs is the first step to selecting a better data management and storage solution. Start by making a list of requirements for your company’s data storage and identifying your biggest data access challenges. You will need to evaluate a variety of factors – including data usage, data volume, data availability, security, compliance needs, and of course, budget – to determine what type of data storage solution will work best for your business.
Gathering and assessing all of these inputs isn’t easy. A solutions architect or strategic consulting partner can help you assess your organization’s specific requirements to construct a storage roadmap that aligns with the company’s business objectives and goals and make the best data storage choices for your organization.
Evaluating your options
Once you have a comprehensive list of your data storage requirements, you’ll need to evaluate how common data storage solutions fit your needs. Most companies are eager to modernize their data storage solutions to ensure their proprietary data is secure and accessible. It is also important to select your data storage strategy with the future in mind, since upgrading data storage methods is a significant financial and time-related investment.
Most companies use one of three types of storage solutions: on-premises data storage, cloud data storage, or a hybrid version of the two. Each option has its own pros and cons.
On-premises data storage solutions
In the past, companies only had the option to use on-premises data servers like Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, or Teradata. On-premises solutions are expensive and require the purchase and maintenance of hardware and software, but there are also many benefits to organizations keeping their data on premises such as:
- Security: Keeping data on company servers means an organization has complete control over how its data is stored and who can access it, since it remains within the company’s firewall.
- Reliability: Organizations can rely on their own infrastructure and staff to manage and maintain the data, and if necessary, fix any server issues to minimize downtime.
In addition to the cost, other drawbacks to this storage solution are:
- Limited space: As the volume of an organization’s data grows, they risk running out of space and will need to upgrade their software, which could lead to delays in data capture and transmission.
- Maintenance: An on-premises server is difficult to maintain without a dedicated team to monitor the infrastructure.
- Risk: Physical damage to the infrastructure can occur due to natural calamity (hurricane, flood, earthquake) or human error (fire).
Cloud data storage solutions
About 15 years ago, cloud-based data storage became a popular option. It is a more efficient and cost-effective way to store large volumes of data with less infrastructure management.
Some of the benefits of cloud data storage include:
- Accessibility and shareability: As with all cloud-based platforms, data can be accessed anytime, anywhere, both in and out of the office.
- Scalability: It’s much easier to expand and purchase additional storage space in the cloud than it is for an on-premises server.
- Cost: Cloud storage solutions are typically less expensive than on-premises solutions because they don’t require the purchase or maintenance of any hardware.
While this option is used by many organizations, some companies choose not to go this route due to:
- Latency and access issues: Depending on the strength of network connectivity, there can be latency issues, which could delay access to data.
- Security and compliance: Some cloud-based systems may not be as secure as on-premises solutions. Data ownership, accessibility by outside parties, and data storage regulations are often concerns that need to be addressed with additional security measures.
The three largest players in the cloud storage ecosystem are also the most popular: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Each offers a range of storage services, including data cloud storage, data warehousing, data lakes, and data archiving. All provide the benefits of cloud storage, so choosing between them becomes a matter of your organization’s specific needs and compatibility with your existing technology ecosystem. Popular data framework solutions like Hadoop and Snowflake can also be used in conjunction with these platforms to efficiently process and analyze stored data.
Hybrid data storage solutions
Finally, if an organization needs both the scalability of cloud storage and the security of on-premises storage, hybrid storage is often a good option. Hybrid solutions typically provide:
- Cost-efficiency and accessibility: Hybrid storage is cost-effective and scalable, and data is easily accessible.
- Customization: Hybrid solutions can be highly customized to suit the organization’s needs.
- Complexity: Hybrid solutions can be complex to manage and configure, and it often requires additional work to ensure data consistency across different environments.
- Security: Additional security measures may be helpful to protect the data located in the cloud-based storage.
Implementing your data storage strategy
After selecting the data storage solution and platform that are right for your business, your next steps are to organize your data, design your migration strategy, and then prepare your data for migration. It is often beneficial to tap into external resources like an expert data architect to help determine the structure of the stored data based on the data sources, the format of the data, and how much access is needed to historical data vs. current data. This can help you select whether data lakes, data warehouses, or databases will best fit your data needs. Plus, data engineering and ETL development experts are critical to facilitate your data migration.
Upgrading an organization’s data storage strategy is often a once-in-a-decade shift, so it should be carefully planned and implemented. Wavicle’s data consultants are committed to guiding you in this process by helping you find the right data storage solution and platform for your organization and addressing all other data management needs. Contact us today to get a customized solution.