In today’s business environment, one of the most prevalent concepts to surface over the past decade is through the realization that centralization is a key factor in improving productivity. By bringing everything into a single system, or at least making a system behave as such, accessing critical applications and data becomes much simpler. There are several ways you can successfully centralize data. The first step is to take a look at what you already have available. At this point in technology’s evolution, we have the cloud. This term can refer to a private central system that has been imbued with the resources necessary to create virtual machines and store data, or a public machine of similar capability.
There are many cloud computing service providers in existence, all with various service offerings, but in a general sense, most offer data storage capability. This is one great way to unify storage as it can be far less expensive to port data to a cloud rather than build up an infrastructure in order to be able to accomplish the same feat. A cloud typically has appeal to those who are in need of a major overhaul, or are just getting started. For most services, there is no up-front cost like when purchasing a server rack with all the cloud computing components needed to a host platform.
Some businesses have all the components of a solid network infrastructure, but it needs just a little more work to make it operate at optimal levels. This is where middleware comes into play. Sometimes everything is already a part of a business system, but everything does not inherently function together. Companies like IBM, Oracle and many more, make middleware which can be used to link disparate systems or applications together to function seamlessly. IBM’s WebSphere applications and Oracle’s Fusion Middleware are designed to integrate separate systems, possibly several, into a cohesively functioning system. This will create unified storage environment, but even more, a business gains a holistic BPM system, which will dramatically improve productivity both in IT and end users.
These high-level computing methods will not likely apply to most SMB sectors. Instead, a high capacity NAS device is a great solution. This will provide a centralized environment for storing data that is both readily available and secure. Again, IBM creates great products like the Storwize V7000 and the System Storage N3000 series for mid-sized and smaller businesses. The Storwize products in particular can be quickly implemented into a network and easily set up and further managed through a simple GUI. IBM’s NAS devices have the ability to both encrypt confidential data, as well as limit access through policy-based management techniques to ensure that data is always safeguarded.