Network storage has always been technology based around the same benefits for businesses. Those are essentially data quality and access. People in offices everywhere are able to work from live data and contribute back to the data storage hardware in a completely live environment. The ability to limit the duplication of data has both secured the data integrity and made backing up important files easier. The invention of network storage proves that computer scientists of the 1960s were every bit as important to the development of modern IT practices as the brightest spark from Silicon Valley.
So What’s Changed in Network Storage Devices?
This infographic on data storage is what initially made me think about writing this piece. Network storage has been here from almost day one. The use of networks, both local and wide area, has been popular since the days of ARPANET. If we had to answer the question of what’s changed, it would have to be something that relates to speed and volume rather than the principles of storage and networking technology. Even things like TCP/IP have been around for thirty years. Today though, networks carry data in seconds that would have taken rooms to store in the past. People are just not concerned with data volume today in the same way that they were just ten years ago.
The need for network speed is increasingly a concern and this is a direct result of growth in available storage. Network drives can hold anything from video to spreadsheets with one file taking up more space than network drives of bygone years, but has that made coders lazy? Do we store data unnecessarily? The answer is no. Most people use networks every day without thinking about it. We have software that syncs files automatically to maintain data integrity across devices, but that is only possible because of the speed and storage capacity of network drives.
Isn’t Cloud Different from Network Storage?
Many people forget that the cloud is nothing more than a wide area network that many people access or can access if they have the necessary login details. It’s still a network, so when IT buyers plan infrastructure upgrades, they check the same access and storage credentials on the same basic hardware when shopping for in-house storage as they are when they shop for cloud systems. Essentially, the only difference between a private internal network and one located in the cloud is the fact that users will access data of a WAN rather than a LAN.
Yes, businesses still want to maintain control over certain data and that’s why the use of private clouds is increasing. We’re coming to a point in time where almost every business in operation today will invest in network storage solutions with cloud connectivity. Companies like Dell have been creating network storage products that currently defy logic for small businesses with petabyte (1,000 terabytes) storage that is both capable for use today and will cater for the increasing data storage needs of tomorrow.