Storage capacity demands for all types of organisations continue to increase dramatically every year – many are now reporting a doubling of data in less than a year. No one in the industry is taking any bets on that number remaining constant. Fuelled largely by the enormous increase in multimedia and personal devices, data centres are looking at higher density drives as one avenue to accommodate growing storage needs in the face of power, cooling, and space restraints. To make informed choices on a balanced system architecture, administrators need to carefully evaluate a number of factors, including performance, data types, capacity, environments, and relative costs.
Industry trends affecting the need for denser storage solutions
The real catalyst for the exponential growth in data storage has
multiple prongs. Everything from home photos and movies, to smart devices.
Companies face a real challenge adapting to this massive growth in data and
Shutterbugs who used to selectively snap photos, aware
of film and photo processing costs, now shoot numerous photos and video on
their digital cameras with little or no thought of the increasing storage needed
for this new content. With the increase in availability and acceptance of
cloud-based storage, more and more of this data is migrating from personal
devices directly to cloud data centres.
This increase in media quality is also forcing storage increases
on the corporate world. Companies that historically shared information on their
website by posting text files and photos are now switching to rich multimedia
formats such as movies, video clips, and high definition photos.
In addition to end user media growth, the advent of
smart devices for home and industry has caused another explosion of data. With
the IoT rapidly moving everyday appliances and systems into the digital world
with the integration of intelligent sensor technology, millions of new data
generating devices are going online every day. Companies are now having to
consider how to best handle constant feeds of data coming from these devices,
how long they need to keep the data, and what storage systems they
will need to house the data.
This all adds up to a need for huge increases in data
centre storage capacity.
Higher density storage needed in data centres
Storing the growing number and size of files is one of
the largest challenges facing data centres today. While the maximum hard drive
capacity has increased dramatically from 2-4 terabytes just three or four years
ago to around 10 terabytes today, it has also taken new ideas and designs for
the storage systems themselves to manage this explosion in data.
Just making the hard drive capacity larger isn’t
enough. Increasing the number of hard drives in a single storage system
is also needed to keep up with the storage demand. Over the past few
years, 4U storage systems have scaled from 16-20 3.5” hard drive bays
up to 60 and beyond, increasing the density of drives per rack. Equus Compute
Solutions recently developed a 60-drive server with a total storage capacity
of more than ½ a petabyte in a 4U form factor. This equates to more than 5
petabytes per 42U rack, enabling data centres to store more data in their
valuable data centre floor space.
This ever-increasing volume of data is forcing data
centres to rethink how and where they store data. Facing a variety of
constraints, including power, cooling, cost and sheer lack of physical space,
data centres are turning to both higher capacity drives and more dense storage systems
to increase their storage capacity, reducing operational expenses and
accommodating the data centre’s footprint limitations.