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What are some challenges with handling an architecture's storage layers?

By Justin Stoltzfus | Last updated: May 18, 2017
Made Possible By Turbonomic

Handling the storage component of a modern data management system can be extremely complicated and challenging.

Some of the big challenges with storage layers have to do with earlier types of storage systems that tend to be monolithic and inflexible. Some of these are hard to work with in terms of input/output, and may be hard to scale because scalability isn't really built into the overall design.

Other types of challenges with storage layers have more to do with the development of modern and sophisticated storage systems, such as software-defined storage platforms that abstract the control plane from the hardware plane. This decoupling of classical storage structures can make storage more versatile and scalable, but it can also add challenges for administrators.

Some software-defined systems may not have intuitive interfaces. Some of them will use simplistic or generic methods to control storage setups. Some may not be versatile enough to handle dynamic workloads or peak time demands. The “sprawl” of these types of systems can end up adding significant management costs. Like any sort of sophisticated and multi-part architecture, the build of a software-defined storage system can kind of run away from enterprise planners.

Some systems may include data silos or isolations that increase the difficulty of handling the storage layers. This can also be a major hurdle in terms of actually administrating a large and somewhat distributed storage component.

Enterprise administrators may also need to choose between fundamentally different types of software-defined storage. Some tools may just deliver the control layer on top of a physical storage system and pool resources accordingly. Others will virtualize the storage environment entirely. Some systems will use server-side virtual controllers and depend on APIs to provide interoperability.

Businesses have to choose the right type of storage system to help them to succeed. They have to have knowledgeable people in-house, or depend on consultants to guide them through the process of applying and using modern storage systems. More fully automated and virtualized storage systems can add a lot of benefits for business, without the complexities and headaches of a poorly designed or ill-fitted architecture that leaves the business scrambling to adopt and implement the right solutions.

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Storage Infrastructure Management Computer Science

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus | Contributor, Reviewer

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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.

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