Focus on... Storage

What do IT decision makers need to consider when it comes to choosing the right type of storage for business?

At a time when global monetary concerns are affecting all sizes of business, making improvements to your IT arrangements can be daunting. It is important to make the right decisions, and at the right time, to help the company go from strength to strength and emerge from the bleak times even stronger.

One area for consideration is choosing the right storage. But this is often easier said than done.

Here are our top 10 tips to guide you through the storage decision-making process.

1) Fit for purpose

Bigger companies will require bigger storage facilities, and are more likely to consider a storage area network (SAN), but these are very expensive. If you are a small or medium sized business (SMB) you may not need something of this size and would perhaps be better off looking into other solutions that cater for your specific business needs.

2) Be realistic

While experts can provide guidance on the best solution for your needs, only you are the true expert about how central a role data storage will play in your business going forward. There is no point in dreaming about what you aspire to be as a business with no real basis - that could well end up with storage money down the drain.

"When it comes to storage it is horses for courses. If you are a very small company all you may need to do is back up everything on tape and lock it away at night," said Rene Millman, an analyst at Gartner.

He added: "Look towards network attached storage and don't go straight for the storage area network. As your company grows so can your storage solutions."

3) What's the point?

The next question you need to ask yourself is why are you buying the storage? The type of information you are storing will affect the type of storage you need. Figure out whether you will be storing email, a shared drive, particular apps or even a database and this will influence the choice you make. It sounds obvious, but it's a key area of decision making easily over looked.

4) Size matters

Make sure that the size of storage you are buying is what you need now. For many years the price per gigabyte has been getting cheaper and it is unlikely to change any time soon. This means additions can be made if needs be in the future but your business suffers no wastage in the short term. 5) Five-year plan

While you should ensure your storage meets your current needs without waste, you should also be able to predict what you will need storage-wise in the next two to three years. In essence, your storage growth should be clearly pinpointed on some kind of policy roadmap.

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