Proper storage is essential to resuming operations after a disruptive event. Choose storage options that work for your business. After determining your RTO and RPO, the next step is investing in infrastructure objectives. How can you be sure to choose the right kind of storage?

Mission critical data loss is a key concern for IT departments, large and small. Lacking the appropriate hardware with functionality in place to ensure data protection can result in long-term negative impacts to more than just the bottom line. These impacts – poor market perception, reputation damage and diminished competitive edge – can cripple organizations.

The hard facts…

“More than 40% of all SMBs will go out of business if they can’t get to their data in the first 24 hours after a crisis.” – Gartner

“Some 43% of companies never resume business following a major fire. Another 35% are out of business within 3 years.” – U.S. National Fire Protection Agency

Define What to Recover

Most companies, due to the high cost of disaster recovery, will only secure mission critical data. However, separating proprietary data or compliance driven data from data that is less important can be daunting.

After determining what data needs to be recovered and how much storage is needed, focus on infrastructure.

“Small companies often spend more time planning their company picnics than for an event that could put them out of business.” — Katherine Heaviside, Epoch 5

Establish Data Storage

DASD (Direct Access Storage Device), tape storage and high-end storage array each have their advantages and disadvantages.

DASD is directly attached to the server. It is inexpensive, but acts as a single point of failure. Also, without using special software, you can’t share the resources with other servers.

Tape storage is the oldest and most common among backup strategies as it is portable to store offsite. However, tapes are hard to manage, grow exponentially and are not as reliable when you need to restore. Not to mention, if you don’t have some form of de-duplication, tapes can double every time you do a full backup. They are more commonly used for long-term or archival storage.

High-End Storage Array – In my opinion, this is the most efficient way to data protect. Using a SAN (storage area network) or a NAS (networked attached storage) device from a leading manufacturer has no single point of failure built into the system. The data is replicated within the array and can be restored in an instant. Plus, the hard drives can be allocated as shared storage. With data management software built into the array, you can back up and manage data on the fly and send it to other servers in the event of a downed server.

High-end storage array is most efficient in the event of a site disaster because data can be replicated to another array at a secondary site. This could mean your company felt a small hiccup and your customers never know you had to restore. These arrays have a higher initial cost, but will give you the better return on investment.

Other things to consider when preparing your data and infrastructure are your data center needs. For large companies and organizations with many servers, colocation and managed hosting are options that allow for reduced energy costs, guaranteed availability of resources and connectivity, and ensured compliance and eco-efficiency requirements.

What options are you using for data storage, and why do they work best for your company/industry??