Mastering Data Storage

There was a time when the primary concern in data storage was simply having enough capacity to store essential files like invoices and spreadsheets. Storage capacity was king, and access was straightforward; with users only concerned with having local block storage resident on their workstations and connecting to network servers through mapped drives. Data was comprised of tangible files such as invoices, legal documents, and spreadsheets, often thought of as “record” data. The understanding of data has significantly evolved since then as it now encompasses more than just individual documents or blog posts. Data now extends into the realm of analytics and user engagement to measure how effectively a blog connects with its readership. This shift towards a broader perspective underlines a more intricate and comprehensive approach to data, emphasizing the importance of both the content itself and the valuable insights derived from it, often thought of as “engagement” data. 

Block Storage and Object Storage 

Block storage technology has been a foundational component of computer storage since the early days of computing, particularly with the advent of the IBM Systems in the 1960s. Your local hard disk is a classic example of block storage in which files are accessed directly as compared to file data on network attached storage (NAS) which involves accessing data through file sharing protocols such as NFS (Unix) or SMB (Windows). Block storage is ideal for structured data and/or very highly performant data and remains a viable option for many storage instances to this day.  

Object storage is a newer concept that came to fruition during the cloud area. It came into prominence with Amazon’s introduction of S3 storage that provided scalable object storage designed to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the web. Object storage bodes particularly well for data that does not fit neatly into traditional row and column databases. This makes it a preferred storage approach for unstructured data that includes things such as photos, videos, emails, and web content. Object storage uniquely identifies each piece of data as an object, which includes the data itself, metadata, and a globally unique identifier. This structure allows data to be accessed directly via APIs or HTTP URLs, without the need for a file system hierarchy. 

Parking or Valet? 

We like to use the analogy of a general parking lot vs. valet parking as a simple way to compare block and object storage. Block storage is like a general parking lot where you park your own car in a designated spot and retrieve it yourself. It is structured and efficient for frequent, direct access, much like how block storage allows data to be stored in fixed-size blocks, providing fast access for databases and applications that need high-speed operations. 

Object storage, on the other hand, resembles a valet service where you hand over your car, and it is parked for you. When you need your car back, you provide a ticket, and the valet retrieves it, regardless of where it is parked. This mirrors object storage’s ability to manage data as distinct objects, each with a unique identifier, making it ideal for storing vast amounts of unstructured data that doesn’t require the immediate, high-speed access that block storage provides. 

HPE File Services Provide Both 

There was a time in which the classic NAS server was all a company needed to provide storage for its users. While there are organizations that still provide mapped drive storage for their users, many modernized workloads don’t work well in a traditional NAS storage universe. HPE recognized that object storage is an underestimated part of the industry. According to Gartner, unstructured data represents 80 to 90 percent of all new enterprise data and is growing three times faster than structured data.  

Recognizing the diverse storage requirements of modern enterprises, HPE now offers both traditional file storage and object storage solutions to meet the full spectrum of needs. From conventional NAS systems for efficient file sharing, to petabyte-scale object storage for handling big data, HPE provides comprehensive coverage. This is particularly advantageous for organizations incorporating AI and ML into their operations. The inherent capability of object storage to attach extensive metadata enhances AI/ML applications by facilitating the categorization and processing of data according to specific attributes or training needs. With unstructured data growing at an unprecedented rate, the scalable nature of object storage ensures that increasing data volumes never hinder model development and training. This scalability provides a solid foundation for growth, allowing businesses to expand their data capacities seamlessly without compromising on performance or efficiency. 

Agility and Security with HPE Storage Solutions 

HPE Storage Solutions can empower your organization to swiftly adapt to changing workloads and embrace modern technologies, thanks to their future-proof design. HPE along with Evolving Solutions can design a storage solution tailored to your specific business needs that ensures proper alignment between your storage infrastructure and organizational objectives. HPE enhances financial flexibility too. Whether opting for a CAPEX model to purchase storage outright or preferring to consume storage as an on-premises cloud service, HPE empowers you to allocate your capital in a manner that best advances your business objectives. 

Whether you require file or object storage, HPE ensures data security with robust, self-protecting platforms designed to safeguard your information. These platforms feature data encryption, detailed access controls, file access auditing, and data immunity. HPE storage security delivers comprehensive protection that translates into compliance and peace of mind. 

Evolving Solutions: Custom Storage Strategies 

Evolving Solutions is ready to engage in a comprehensive discussion about your organization to understand and help you define the right storage strategy for your needs. With deep expertise in storage solutions and a strong collaborative partnership with HPE, we are equipped to design the optimal mix of file and object storage. This ensures your business can ingest and analyze the necessary data to propel your business model forward.

Take our data storage assessment

Ted Letofsky

Enterprise Architect

Ted is a Senior Enterprise Architect at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2017. Connect with Ted on LinkedIn.

Photo of Ted Letofsky

Related Blog Posts