In the data-driven world we live in, organizations worldwide are increasingly looking for ways to store, manage, and transfer their critical data. According to TechNavio, the enterprise data storage market may grow by as much as USD 1.14 billion between 2021 to 2025, with a CAGR of 4.67%.

As part of this trend, businesses are facing challenging data storage choices. Earlier this year, HelpNet asked industry professionals for factors to consider when choosing a data storage management solution. In the article, our own CEO Tuukka Ahoniemi outlined several critical factors that businesses shouldn’t ignore.

When it comes to actually building such a solution – that’s a topic Tuxera wants to elaborate on in even more detail. It’s no secret that designing for the enterprise environment can get complicated. The process can involve internal and external tools and software, with some of those simply not working properly. On top of that, the quantity and the kind of data that businesses have to manage means that any enterprise storage solution must meet specific requirements in its design (we’ll talk about those down below). All of that makes design and development a more challenging process.

Our experts have identified no less than six elements for creating a solution that meets the enterprise data storage management needs of today. As we dive into this list, we’re assuming that you’ve already selected your hardware, which is undeniably an important part. But your hardware is only as good as your software. And when designing an enterprise solution, software is an integral component. This is especially true when it comes to more advanced software like parallel file systems, and it’s something our solutions – like Microsoft NTFS by Tuxera – can provide expert help with.

1 – Performance

At the end of the day, performance is the most important factor, but even that can be limited by environment. As technologies like AI and machine learning become more advanced, it’s vital that data management develops in tandem in order to effectively support them. Higher performance data management results in more data output and improved production. As such, enterprise solutions need to have features built into their design to maximize performance. A high-performing SMB solution like Fusion File Share by Tuxera achieves that consistently, thanks to a modular and threaded design that boosts I/O throughput while reducing CPU usage.

Other innovative tools exist for improving enterprise solution performance. SMB compression is one example, able to increase performance by compressing files inline during transfer. This process reduces performance bottlenecks, particularly when many large files need to be handled.

Though we’ve talked about performance here from an operating system (OS) agnostic perspective, the OS is a further consideration for performance. Enterprise software should be designed or optimal integration with specific OS. As much of the business world uses Microsoft Windows, it’s critical that an enterprise solution has rapid NTFS integration with Windows. High quality solutions like Fusion File Share accomplish that, while also featuring other design tweaks  that help to accelerate performance.

2 – Cost

In speaking with our customers, the second most important factor in storage purchase decisions is cost.

Like any organizational software purchasing decision, enterprise storage solutions are adopted under finite budgets. These realities make free and open-source solutions a consideration. Free software isn’t free to integrate or support, however. Furthermore, such solutions don’t always have the optimal level of reliability and security. In the worst case, this can result in severe security issues.

The obvious solution here is to request support from the people with the expertise to make the necessary solution modifications. Those changes can involve adding extra bits and monitoring the integration process – or simply getting past the limitations imposed by the chipset.

3 – Security

For enterprise solutions, security is huge. In cloud storage, for example, 66% of companies see security as the greatest challenge for cloud adoption.

But not all enterprise solutions can ensure optimal security. While SMB1 has significant security issues as mentioned earlier, it’s still commonly used in many enterprise environments. This means some organizations are at risk of serious storage instability.

SMB solutions aren’t the only enterprise software that need to be kept secure. For NTFS file systems, the storage capabilities must be secure enough to ensure that data remains uncorrupted in the event of power shutdown. A premium implementation like Microsoft NTFS by Tuxera makes sure that metadata, device integrity, and volume consistency are safeguarded during any problematic events.

4 – Scalability

In the enterprise context, scalability refers to the extent that an enterprise solution is able to handle many simultaneous connections to shared resources. Businesses often have to manage heavy workloads of highly sensitive or otherwise critical data. Scalability is, therefore, a hugely important feature, and one that we’ve often seen as being overlooked. Properly scalable solutions are able to handle large workloads of data without sacrificing speed.

A great solution for a small environment can completely fall apart under larger loads. One example of this is a manufacturing environment, with millions of files sent for data analysis. A design optimized for many small files won’t wait for an answer to each one – instead, it will process them in a group. That’s the sort of design approach necessary for achieving high levels of scalability that businesses need.

5 – Continuous availability

In the enterprise world, reliability is usually referred to as availability. This is an important feature, as many businesses may rely on accessing and transferring files using an enterprise solution. Therefore, such a solution needs to be able to provide data and file transfers precisely when needed.

To do that, redundancy in the system is added in during solution design and development, in order to ensure that the solution is continuously available and functioning. Part of this involves failover options to help with recovery, and minimize downtime. Ideally, backup servers will be ready to take on the workload in the event of a power outage, ensuring critical data is uncorrupted and available. A well-designed enterprise solution should be deployable in active-passive mode over the distributed file system clients, in order to provide high availability and transparent failover of connections.

6 – Software

A final, but no less critical element is the software itself. Over the last few years, the differentiating factor among data management solutions has increasingly shifted from the hardware to the software. High quality, optimized data management software can do wonders for old hardware, prolonging the lifetime and keeping it from becoming obsolete. Furthermore, revitalizing old hardware with modern software in this way can lead to significant cost-savings in the long run.

However, the software itself can greatly benefit from enhancements provided by additional file systems. For example, Fusion File Share by Tuxera makes advanced enterprise software like a parallel file system run faster, while our NTFS solution complements the system as well.

For the highest quality enterprise solution, keeping the software that’s used in an optimized state is an important step.

Final thoughts

As organizations around the world look for ways to safely and effectively store and transfer their critical data, enterprise storage solutions must be able to match those needs in specific ways. That means a storage solution which is high-performing and continuously available, with security and cost-efficiency to match. A failure to meet those criteria may mean an inability for an organization to keep its valuable data uncorrupted and available precisely when needed. And that can be disastrous.

Over the last year, Tuxera has worked with its customers to analyze and solve significant enterprise storage issues, and our experts are available for your upcoming projects.

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