Enterprise organizations with large IT departments often embrace innovative virtual storage and hybrid storage solutions because, despite their initial costs, these systems can save them significant amounts of money. While large companies have the resources to pull this off, can smaller businesses benefit from hybrid storage solutions? You bet they can!
What is Hybrid Storage?
Hybrid storage solutions feature a blend of hard disks and solid state storage. As you likely know, traditional hard disks consist of spinning disks and mechanical parts. These disks have evolved to the point where they have huge capacities but little room to improve performance-wise. Meanwhile, solid state storage has emerged. It contains no moving parts and is extremely fast as a result. However, storage capacity isn't nearly as robust.
In addition, the cost per gigabyte of solid state storage devices is much higher than it is with traditional hard disks. In small quantities, the cost differential isn't a limiting factor. However, when you need larger capacities, solid state storage can quickly become cost prohibitive.
That's where hybrid storage solutions come into play. These solutions use both solid state and traditional hard disk drives to bring the best of both worlds into a single device. The spinning hard disks are used to store the bulk of an organization's data while the smaller, high capacity solid state drives are used to store the data that is most frequently used. This is the key as most of the time, you are accessing data from the solid state drive. Thus, most of the time, you are benefitting from the performance this technology offers over spinning disks.
Meanwhile, the bulk of your data, that data that you occasionally need to use, is readily available on traditional hard disks. Thus, you get the cost advantage and high capacity of traditional hard disks for the majority of your storage needs.
Benefits of Hybrid Storage
Hybrid storage delivers the performance you crave while providing the storage capacity you need. But the benefits don't necessarily stop there. Integrated snapshots and replication (if offered in the hybrid solution you choose) protect data and may even eliminate the need for an external backup solution. In addition, hybrid storage can reduce the demands typically placed on resources, resulting in a reduction in errors and an improvement in reliability.
Hybrid Storage Solutions are For Businesses of All Sizes
Though often marketed to enterprise organizations, businesses of all sizes can benefit from hybrid storage solutions. Where large organizations may need virtual storage pools and hybrid arrays at a larger scale, hybrid storage solutions are typically highly scalable. This means that they can start at a small scale or be built to accommodate additional users or devices.
For the smallest businesses, a single hybrid drive may be all that's needed whereas medium-sized businesses may require an array that can grow as their needs change. In either case, hybrid storage solutions aren't just for the enterprise.