Storage Management 101: Centralized Helps

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Click to learn more about author George Williams.

This is the second article in a series of articles that focus on data storage management. In this article series, we’re discussing tips and insights on making life easier for data center owners. This article is focused on centralized data storage management.

The first article in the series discussed the importance of flexibility in data storage management. To read the article, click here: Storage Management 101: Flexibility Matters.

Before we get into how centralization helps with data storage management, let’s define what we really mean by “centralized data storage management”.

What We Mean by “Centralized Data Storage Management”?

Centralized data storage management is the ability to manage a variety of workloads using a single software and a centralized management interface.

What kind of workloads, you ask? All kinds: file-level data or unstructured data, block-level data or structured data, object-level data or cloud data. In other words, the ability to manage NAS, SAN, hyperconverged, and unified storage resources using a single software solution is what we call “centralized data storage management”.  

Let’s be clear here, by centralized data storage management we’re referring to the management and not the storage itself. Therefore, this is not to be confused with centralized databases or centralized data storage solutions.

Now that we’ve defined centralized data storage management, let’s talk about how it helps simplify the storage experience for enterprise users.

How Helpful is Centralized Storage Management?

When using a single purpose-built storage solution, the dedicated software is all you need. You don’t want a plethora of tools to manage this one type of storage that you have on your on-premises or offsite or in the cloud; one tool should be good enough.

Today, most businesses aren’t dealing with a single type of data. Consequently, they aren’t using a single purpose-built storage solution either.

If it’s a data driven enterprise, that relies on data driven decisions, then they probably have NAS systems for file storage and SAN systems for different types of databases. This is also the age of Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), so it’s likely that an hyperconverged appliance is a part of your data center. Therefore, with legacy solutions, they’re using dedicated tools for each of their purpose-built storage solutions. And that’s making everyday operations difficult and complex for Database Administrators (DBAs).

So how can such businesses make processes efficient and life easy for their DBAs? They can do so by leveraging centralized storage management software.

With centralized storage management, DBAs can manage high density workloads that are greater in volume and would otherwise be too complex to handle with legacy solutions or with multiple management tools.

But what kind of software are truly centralized? That’s a good question.

Truly Centralized Storage Management Software – What Do They Look Like?

With so much competition in the storage management industry, it becomes difficult to differentiate the truly capable centralized management software from the “well-marketed” management software.

So, what kind of features should you look for to identify a truly centralized management software?

You should always look for a management software that is software-defined.

Why Software-defined?

That’s because if it’s software-defined, that means it’s not built for a specific server. Instead, it breathes life into a server and defines its purpose.

Some examples of reliable software-defined storage solutions include HPE software-defined storage, IBM Spectrum, StoneFly SCVM, among others.

It needs to be mentioned here that not all software-defined solutions are centralized management solutions. You still have to look for the list of features and make sure that the workloads you’re running in your data centers are supported by the desired software.

However, the importance of software-defined is in the fact that it’s not restricted by a server. Therefore, it’s an important part of a truly centralized management software.

Conclusion

Enterprise data centers now have a variety of workloads and running dedicated software to manage them becomes a complex, inefficient and time-consuming process for DBAs.

Centralized management software helps make processes simpler and quicker; thereby making life easier for DBAs and data center owners.

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