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What is data storage?

In an increasingly digital world, the significance of data in businesses is continually growing. Data has become the most valuable asset, the lifeblood for modern business processes and data-driven innovations. Therefore, secure and high-performance storage of data is paramount. 

Data storage systems face high demands. They must manage large volumes of data cost effectively and ensure maximum availability, at speeds that enable demanding analyses and applications in real time. At the same time, there's increasing pressure on IT departments to implement flexible and future-proof solutions. 

This article is an overview of modern technologies and concepts in data storage. 

Object storage

Modern systems like object storage offer ideal solutions for data storage. Unlike traditional block storage, object storage saves data as individual objects, each with unique metadata. 

This approach enables scalable, flexible, and bandwidth-optimized data management. Designed to store and manage vast amounts of data cost effectively across various file formats, object storage also supports parallel access by an almost unlimited number of client servers. 

Benefits of object storage

Object storage offers numerous advantages for businesses, providing powerful storage capabilities that can manage even exponentially growing data volumes affordably. Also, it ensures data availability and protection against accidents or hardware failures. 

Block storage

Block storage remains a standard in data storage. It saves data in fixed blocks, each addressable through a unique logical block address (LBA), enabling efficient and rapid management of larger datasets. 

Ideal for transaction-oriented applications like databases, block storage ensures secure and consistent data storage. Its fixed block size means predictable access times and I/O loads, optimizing performance. The ease of hardware integration, given that nearly all storage systems are designed for block access, makes block storage a reliable standard for transaction data despite newer technologies. 

Flash storage: Fast and powerful data storage

In recent years, flash storage has become a powerful alternative to traditional hard drives. Most market flash storage today uses solid state drives (SSDs) based on NAND flash technology. SSDs offer significant advantages over traditional hard disks, such as extremely short access and read times enabled by flash storage cells. 

Rapid reading and writing with SSD storage

SSDs achieve significantly higher IOPS and up to 30 times faster read and write speeds than hard drives. These performance leaps are particularly attractive for compute-intensive ERP and CRM systems in enterprise companies, enabling uninterrupted operation of large software systems. 

Moreover, SSDs are more robust, without moving parts, reducing failure risks. Flash storage also enables lower latencies and parallel processing for data access, facilitating real-time processing of large data volumes and advanced analyses directly at the storage level. It's no surprise that SSDs and flash storage are becoming the performance standard for demanding enterprise applications. 

Cloud storage: Data storage in the cloud

Cloud storage offers businesses an extremely cost-effective way to make their data storage flexible and scalable. Without the need for costly hardware acquisitions, cloud storage provides virtual storage capacities in various sizes, expandable as data volumes grow. 

Cloud storage is particularly suitable for specific workloads like regular backups or archiving older data. Data is stored on the infrastructure of major cloud providers, ensuring security, availability, and performance. For enterprise users, this means the ability to flexibly adjust IT to peak loads without high one-time costs or long installation times for new storage capacities. Features like shrinkage calculation and automatic lifecycles for backups optimize data access at minimal cost, making cloud storage an efficient solution for outsourcing storage-intensive workloads. 

Hybrid cloud data storage

Many companies are now using hybrid cloud data storage, combining the benefits of private data storage in their own data centers with flexible cloud storage. This hybrid cloud offers a good compromise between control and flexibility for enterprise companies. 

Using hybrid cloud data storage

Business-critical and privacy-sensitive information remains securely stored in the company's own data center. Less sensitive or rapidly growing data volumes can be cost effectively and flexibly outsourced to the cloud. Standardized interfaces enable easy data exchange between private and public storage. 

Enterprise companies benefit from the scalability, availability, and low costs of the cloud in traditional on-premises operations. The strategic use of hybrid models enables a future-proof storage infrastructure that can be expanded as needed, giving companies nearly unlimited, cost-effective storage capacities.  

Data storage: Summary

In summary, it has become clear today that there are many ways for companies to store their valuable data efficiently and securely. From established solutions such as block storage to modern object and flash storage, the advantages and disadvantages of different systems were highlighted.  

Hybrid cloud models that combine the advantages of private and public storage are ideal for B2B users with dynamically growing data volumes and high performance requirements. B2B users can also avoid high initial investments by using scalable on-demand capacity in the cloud. 

Overall, the data storage market is showcasing future-proof full-service solutions based on established standards as well as innovative storage technologies that enable companies to manage their data flexibly, securely and efficiently. 

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