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Five questions to ask your Data Storage Vendor

BY: Franklin Asare

It is important to transform and enhance your business with a comprehensive storage solution that integrates and refreshes your existing IT infrastructure, while reducing costs. Data is fast becoming an increasingly strategic resource that can differentiate your company from your competition. As a result, data availability requirements are on the rise.

Approaching the task of choosing a data storage vendor however can be a difficult one. From supported platforms to connectivity, company viability to disaster recovery, there are countless variables involved in deciding which company fits your business’ needs.

Enterprises handle massive amounts of business-critical data, so storage systems that are highly scalable, offer unlimited connectivity, and support multiple platforms would benefit them the most. The importance of data storage is underlined by the exponential generation of new data and the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Today’s storage systems need capabilities that allow enterprises to apply machine learning-enabled artificial intelligence to capture, analyze, and extract value from massive amounts of data.

Customers should be looking not at features and functionality alone, but beyond them to the business outcomes those features can deliver.

Below are a few questions to get you started on the journey to choosing the perfect data storage vendor.

1. What are my capacity needs?

Understanding the amount of storage, you are currently using, as well as how much you estimate that you will need going forward, as to avoid hitting a space threshold soon after your purchase, is crucial. Additionally, it would behoove you to consider your organization’s data efficiency needs to determine if a platform based on faster, flash-based storage would be better suited to your needs than traditional spinning disk drives, for example. Capabilities to look out for in a solution would be compression and deduplication, which can provide significant storage savings if your data set supports it.

2. What does my current IT infrastructure look like?

Consider how old your current servers are. If they are relatively new, you might only need to upgrade storage on your current hosts. However, if your servers are closer to five years old, looking at a hyperconverged environment might be a better option to refresh your infrastructure. Additionally, take your IT personnel into account. Larger companies sometimes have teams of IT specialists with deep, area-specific knowledge, but SMB IT admins often must be a jack-of-all-trades. In this case, a hyperconverged solution may be a better fit, as they combine server, storage, and networking into one footprint.

3. How will I handle backups?

A standard backup strategy would include snapshots running on your storage, a local backup of the file level and image level on a separate storage device, and an offsite backup of both files and image. Keep in mind that to support offsite backups, you need an Internet or WAN connection that will support your backup traffic. A good rule of thumb is that you want to have enough bandwidth to complete a full backup of your data within 24 hours. It is also important to name ideal recovery points and recovery times for your business, which requires that you know what your organization can tolerate in terms of data loss.

4. How scalable does my solution need to be?

Think about how many devices you will be connecting. While most implementations start on a smaller scale, it is important to have realistic expectations for how your organization and its data will grow in the coming years. Some low cost, high-performance databases can be well-suited to your needs initially, but they will not necessarily scale beyond a certain capacity. For this reason, looking into a solution’s capacity for scalability will be a big help in making your decision.

5. Can the storage infrastructure be resilient to cyber-attacks?

IT organizations require a systematic approach to security to meet the challenges posed by today’s pervasive cyber threats. Having a strong framework is critical for assessing and implementing cyber resilience strategies against such threats. It is crucial to decide which storage functions your business needs to address the latest threats. Learning the role of storage infrastructure in cyber resilience and the key capabilities that deliver across block, file, object, tape, software-defined storage is essential to a successful business.

Choosing a data center vendor can be a difficult process but TechGulf will be a perfect choice. TechGulf is a Technology company based in San Francisco, USA. And Accra Ghana. TechGulf has as its core mandate the provision of stable and secure data storage hardware and services for the African continent, to grow abilities, capabilities, and business opportunities for businesses of all sizes. We have partnered Overland Tandberg in a strategic partnership covering the African Continent to leverage their competence in top class data and infrastructure solutions.

TechGulf offers the services you need, from relocation to decommissioning, and everything in between. In these unprecedented times of COVID-19, we have become even more reliant on digital technologies. In that regard, and in all else, this pandemic is a striking reminder of an increasing need for digital storage and security in Africa, and an urgent call to bridge the existing gaps of technological inequalities in emerging economies on our continent.

The Author, Franklin Asare is the Chief Executive Officer TechGulf