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. […]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.
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.|
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
|1TB RAID 10 Storage
4 Bay NAS – $250
4x 1TB SSD – $460
|HPE Nimble Storage||1TB RAID10 Storage
Starting at $174/month.
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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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
|Description||An affordable option.||Increased redundancy and storage.||Large storage and redundancy needs.|
|Specs||Intel E3 1230v1
2x 1TB HDD
Software RAID 1
|Xeon D 1540
4x 2TB HDD
Hardware RAID 10
|E3 1270 V6
4x 6TB HDD
Hardware RAID 10
|Order||Order Now||Order Now||Order Now|
Direct Attached Storage Recommendations
|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
|NAS – $932
8x 1TB SSD – $912
|NAS – $1499
12x 2TB SSD – $2688
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.