Storage is any activity that involves the safe-keeping of anything of value for future use. Specifically, data storage is the retention of raw inputs or information through computers or other devices. Data storage can be in the form of block storage, object storage, and file storage, each serving different purposes.
Storage management covers all the processes and strategies involved in managing the software and hardware that make up a data storage system, including maximizing the performance of data storage resources. It includes techniques focused on improving performance, availability, recoverability, and data storage systems’ capacity to store and secure data properly.
A server is a part of a computer network that performs a specific set of tasks or provides services to other devices. Storage servers are hardware devices or programs that provide storage services through a network.
A storage server is purpose-built for storing and securing digital data and files. This storage server facilitates access to an organization’s data and applications through the internet or a shared network.
Storage servers may be located on-prem or maintained virtually through a cloud network. They are responsible for data storage management on a particular network so that the computers on that shared network can access these files easily.
Cloud services are configurations, programs, or software hosted by third-party providers and made available to users. These services are designed to be delivered on-demand to companies and customers over the internet.
Cloud storage is an internet service that stores data through a cloud computing provider that manages and operates data storage as a service.
With many architectures being moved to the cloud, it might be challenging to differentiate between cloud services and cloud storage. Here are a few things to note:
Cloud storage is a cloud service offered to businesses and individuals on the internet. This service covers data saved on servers and accessible over the web.
Cloud services cover the coordination of software development, deployment, and delivery processes over the web.
You won’t access cloud storage if there are no companies creating cloud infrastructure. Likewise, you can’t have cloud services without cloud storage because the applications and infrastructures need to be stored somewhere.
Want to use the cloud for free? Discover how to use free cloud services as a developer.
Data management software (DMS) is a program that takes raw data and converts it into a storage container or collects and processes inputs into a consistent resource such as a database.
Among its benefits, data management software helps to:
Enhance performance. DMS improves the performance of the existing storage resources, for example, by compressing data and increasing transfer speed. This feature aids businesses and organizations in delivering effective and efficient services.
Minimize errors. Data management software helps to reduce potential mistakes by creating policies and processes that produce reliable, up-to-date data, which allows companies to respond more efficiently to market dynamics and customer demands.
Increase speed and flexibility. Data storage and management solutions can work in real-time and adapt to unforeseen changes in the storage resources. They reduce the time it takes to execute tasks while still being flexible enough to suit whatever needs must be met to produce customer goods and services. They also make the processes of managing data less stressful and time-consuming.
Reduce capital and operational expenses. When running a business or organization, finding effective ways to reduce costs without reducing product quality is vital. Data management software helps reduce capital expenses in setting up a data storage management system and operational expenses because the business would not have to expand storage capacity that often.
Make management easier. Data management software allows managing cloud environments from a single location. DMS also makes data management more convenient through automated tasks, remotely logging, or centralized consoles. It also reduces the number of IT staff needed to run the storage system.
With data being one of the most valuable assets of any organization, it is not surprising that its security is of utmost importance to any business. Cloud-based storage systems have undoubtedly made it easier and less expensive to store vast amounts of data in a single place while aiding data transfer over shared networks.
The cloud-based database system is not without its shortcomings. IT specialists associate certain security risks with storing data on the cloud, including physical and cyber security threats that target company data stored on different servers and networks.
Here are some steps that specialists can take to minimize storage risks and ensure a secure storage system for a company’s database:
Data storage security policies: Organizations should create and implement a comprehensive data storage security policy to maximize data security. The policy can include procedures and techniques that regulate the access and use of data by staff in the organization. These practices may include identifying sensitive or critical data, adopting strong security controls to safeguard data classification, and implementing appropriate safety measures.
Effective password management: The IT department needs to develop strong passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember. These passwords should be a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols in no order. Also, passwords should be changed regularly whenever employees leave the company as the code of ethics no longer binds them. It’s advisable not to store them on a computer or any open place.
Multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication requires another factor to verify identification besides usernames and passcodes as a form of extra security. It is another way to prevent hacking, misplacement, or compromising passwords.
Encryption: Cybersecurity analysts confirm that encrypting data at the source is the safest option. End-to-end encryption during data transfer is necessary to reinforce security.
Major cloud providers — such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) — all provide storage options that cut the need for separate storage administration, or at least the kind that involves hardware and software. If you want more independence, look for a scale-out storage package such as one from Portworx, Minio, or NetApp.
Storage is essential when setting up cloud-native architectures, but some challenges occur during setup. Perhaps the difficulty could be traced to one vital tenet: all computing nodes (a container or even a serverless API) should be stateless, which means that the node should not be keeping any data, either for long-term storage or even for routing purposes. The reasoning is that a node can be moved anywhere at a moment’s notice or be replicated.
So all storage must be somewhere else. But how does the compute node know where all its data is? Given that these workloads are distributed, the response times of these storage systems must be super low. These are the problems tackled by cloud service providers (CSPs). Cloud service providers can ease developers’ tasks with automated cloud storage services, hiding some of the complexity where developers’ actions are unnecessary
At The New Stack, we keep an eye on the CSPs market and work around scale-out storage. We also monitor storage systems that can expand without reorganization or help from a storage admin. For instance, Ceph, an open-source managed by Red Hat, falls into this bucket.
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