Good data storage is a balance between accessibility, security and cost. Backing up your data is a must for organisations with crucial and/or sensitive data which may be lost due to natural or man-made disasters, malicious activity like computer viruses or accidental and human error. There are many choices in the way you will backup and store your data. How you choose to backup your data will depend on the type of data being collected that needs to be protected and how often you need to capture a picture of your data in case it needs to be restored.
Storage mediums have come a long way from magnetic tapes which have long been the common medium for bilk data storage. Despite the advent of hard disk drives and remote and virtual services, magnetic tapes remain the most popular medium as they have the capacity and speed to rival their closest competitor, the hard disk drive. In recent years there has been a shift towards remote and virtual storage of data using cloud computing through a virtual machine monitor (VMM) that can create and run virtual machines on which storage service software can be operated.
Once the data has been stored, it must be organised and managed if it is to be of use in restoring the system when needed. The first management method is an online system which although being relatively expensive is convenient and offers fast access times to your data. It is the most accessible method allowing you to begin system or data restoration almost immediately. An example of online data management is an internal hard disk drive or disk array (which increases the availability, resilience and ease of maintenance) connected to SAN or Storage Area Network.
This is I know stumbling into incomprehensible territory if you don’t happen to be an IT grad or a computer whizz so I will try to explain (as I didn’t get it either). A San is a dedicated network (something that connects computers in the same system) that provides access to consolidate (something that is brought together) and block level data storage. Glump – still with me? Block level data storage is a buffering tool (hang in there) that provides only a kind of limited access to the hardware on which the data is stored. This makes is safer for the data and avoids most of the risks of accidental or malicious deletion and overwriting (we got there!).
Nearline and offline data storage management are less expensive than online storage, however the access time to the stored data is slower and in the case of offline storage management, requires human action to access the stored media (i.e. putting in the tapes or connecting a drive. Nearline storage is no safer than online storage but offline services mean that the data is not accessible at all except during periods of backup or system restoration. This reduces the risk of overwriting or deletion by accident or design.
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