Storage to fit the application
With networked storage technologies such as NAS and SAN getting
commoditised, the use of application-specific storage can help an organisation
get better value from its storage infrastructure. by Soutiman Das Gupta.
storage is meant for enterprises with storage-intensive applications.
applications typically involve vast amounts of data that need to be indexed,
sorted, filtered and retrieved easily
NAS and SAN technologies have matured to the extent that networked
storage is now a vital part of the information infrastructure.
In the attempt to squeeze more value from their storage infrastructures,
CIOs are constantly on the lookout for new concepts or technologies that deliver
better performance levels from storage. One such concept is application-specific
Application-specific storage is the concept of using storage infrastructure
that has its componentsincluding data storage and retrieval platformstailored
towards a specific business application.
DRIVEN BY APPLICATIONS
Before we understand the benefits of this concept, its important to recognise
that the most important driver of storage requirements are applications.
Applications used in an enterprise drive its storage requirements, and interface
with storage at the back end. Application-specific storage solutions enable
organisations to bring greater efficiency to their existing storage infrastructure.
The concept specifically makes sense when the volume of data in an enterprise
grows, and the need for data archival and compliance goes up. It will evolve
as policy-based application-driven storage for faster information management,
irrespective of the technology that has been used in between, explains
P K Gupta, Director, Product Marketing, APJ, EMC Software.
It also makes it easy for the storage infrastructure to comply with any regulatory
|To fit the application
With each department in an enterprise
building large data stores, the challenge of sorting, retrieving, and backing
up data becomes a complex one. Application-specific storage can help improve
performance and make networked storage more manageable.
Application-specific storage allows
organisations to build the storage infrastructure according to a specific
business application or requirement. It simplifies index, sort, and filter
functionalities, and also helps in regulatory compliance.
Future buyers of application-specific
storage should look for the broadest range of services and create a single
repository for all kinds of data. A good infrastructure will have the
flexibility to add rules and policies, and offer faster recovery
P K Gupta
Director, Product Marketing
APJ EMC Software
Companies in industry verticals such as healthcare, telecom
and insurance will benefit most from the use of application-specific storage.
Different applications have different kinds of storage and
retrieval requirements. While organisations strive to move towards standardisation,
having a standardised or unified data storage and retrieval platform isnt
always the best answer.
A good example is found in diagnostics, specifically digital
medical imaging and radiology. With radiology and medical imaging taking
the digital route, the need for storing patients high-resolution medical
images, and accessing and retrieving them quickly and easily, dictates the need
for application-specific storage and retrieval, states Sanghi.
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is another area where application-specific
storage will come into play. Being able to efficiently sort through hundreds
of thousands of digitally scanned and archived documents to find the right one
isnt something that can be done easily by one or two people accessing
a standard find utility and a NAS storage box. It would be nightmarish
without having an application-specific storage and retrieval solution in place.
The medical field is evolving, so medical institutions have a need for customised
storage solutions. Three factors are generating the need for healthcare-specific
storage solutions: the explosion of data, specific patterns of data usage within
healthcare, and government regulations.
In the healthcare vertical the data explosion is more complicated. Not only
are transactional records such as admissions and billing being computerised,
but medical data such as medical charts and laboratory test results are also
Here are the things a CIO
should look for when deploying application-specific storage practices:
- Determine areas of exposure. Seek legal
assistance, outside help, and industry-specific advice.
- Integrate the plan with Information Lifecycle
Management (ILM), if you also plan to implement ILM.
- Select the best technologies and tools
to support the approach.
- Ask your storage vendors for case studies
depicting how they have implemented application-specific storage for
organisations in your industry.
- Make sure your storage solution complies
with any applicable rules, regulations, and policies that affect your
- Make sure the implemented solution is
disaster-proof, and can scale to accommodate rising loads.
As more industries and workplaces switch to an applications-centric approach,
productivity will increase, and along with it the need to create a storage architecture
to support growth. This paves the way for newer concepts like application-specific
storage since its aim is to increase performance levels of the applications.