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Thursday 7 Sept 2023 | 5 min read

What you need to know before choosing a data storage solution

A man dressed in business casual clothing standing in a data centre holding a laptop.

Data is the new currency of business and it's becoming more important as we head to the digital-first future.

Legacy and real-time data empowers organisations to generate intelligent insights and make better, faster decisions.

But alongside these opportunities, data comes with its own set of challenges. To benefit from big data, you'll need somewhere to store it and the ability to access it efficiently.

Back in 2016, the internet passed one zettabyte in annual traffic. That's a trillion gigabytes, or in Apple terms, 250 trillion songs. While it took decades for internet data to reach a zettabyte, it's since been growing at an unprecedented rate. In their “Data Age 2025” Whitepaper, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts annual internet traffic will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025.

So, without an effective storage solution, your business is missing out on data's transformational benefits. What's more, poorly stored data is harder to access and leads to lower productivity.

Which data storage solution is right for you?

Here's a comprehensive guide to data storage. In it, you'll find everything you need to know to build the ideal storage solution for your organisation

Get your free data storage guide

But how do you know if your storage solution isn't delivering? And what should you look for in a storage solution to help drive your organisation forward? In this article, we’ll unpack all things data, so you can make a smart decision when selecting your storage solution.  

Signs of poor data storage:

Companies are moving their data to the cloud for a more dynamic, scalable and cost-effective storage solution. But with this shift to cloud storage, slow internet speeds have become a challenge to maintaining long-held user experience benchmarks. These are the telltale signs your storage solution is under the pump.

Slow response times: 

When applications take a long time to respond, or even time out, it makes for a frustrating user experience. So, what's a good response time for accessing data from a cloud-based storage solution? 0.1 seconds, according to user experience specialists Nielson Norman Group. 0.1 seconds feels almost instant from the end user's perspective. Even response times up to one second are still acceptable for most users. However, if response times exceed one second, users will likely lose interest and leave the application. The result is lost productivity.

Low throughput: 

In the context of cloud storage, throughput refers to the number of transactions (or actions you can take, such as opening a file or playing a video) your storage solution can handle every second. Your storage solution should allow your team to work simultaneously without a dip in performance. If you experience lagging or transaction queues, your storage solution doesn't have the capacity your organisation requires to run efficiently. 


How to choose the right storage solution

Like any big purchase, knowing what to look for before buying will increase the likelihood you’ll make the right choice. 

These are the criteria you'll need to look for in a data storage solution: 

1. Performance: Your storage solution needs the capacity to power your organisation’s critical, day-to-day tasks effortlessly.

2. Scalability: As your organisation grows, so will the amount of data you'll need to store. A good storage solution is one you can scale as you need to without impacting performance. So factor in future increases in data capacity. 

3. Reliability: No system is 100% reliable. A good storage solution has redundancy built in, so your storage is still available if a controller or disk fails.

4. Security: Before choosing a storage solution, familiarise yourself with its access controls. Without full control over who can access your data, you are exposing yourself to more risk.

5. Cost: Is it affordable? A good storage solution balances performance and price.

Maximise efficiency with tiered storage

Think of how you organise your wardrobe. The clothes you wear every day are front, centre and easily accessible. Because who's got time and energy to search for your work clothes just after waking up in the morning? On the other hand, those ugly Christmas sweaters and dress-up party costumes are fine at the back of the cupboard. 

Data storage should work the same way. Your storage solution must prioritise the most-used, business-critical data to keep your organisation running. That's where tiered storage can come in handy.

What is tiered storage? 

Tiered storage is a system for assigning data to various types of storage media based on requirements including cost, availability, performance and recovery. For example, in a tiered storage model, less important data (like old sales brochures and photos from the 2021 Christmas party) are stored on a lower storage tier. Important data such as employee files and CRM software are on a higher storage tier. 

Tiered storage saves you money on your storage solution without impacting operations. Lower storage tiers mean reduced performance and functionality but they’re cheaper as a result. Low-tier storage won't impact efficiency, since you're only storing data you rarely need to access.

A tiered storage system lets your organisation prioritise access to the highest-priority data. At the same time, it enables you to save on your storage solution by cutting unnecessary functionality.

So, tick all those boxes and you've got it made, right? Not quite. Organisations tend to overlook a few crucial elements of data storage.

What most organisations overlook when choosing their storage solution

1. Growth: As time passes, you'll inevitably need to add more data to your storage solution. Will your solution hold up as data requirements increase?

2. Performance: For tiered storage to work as intended, you'll need to ensure all your data is in the right tier. That means being strategic, realistic and decisive about the data your organisation will need to access regularly.

3. Managing capacity: What happens if you run out of storage? Planning for this ahead of time means you avoid making rash decisions should your storage unexpectedly reach capacity.

4. Solution management costs: Aside from the data storage costs, you'll need to factor in the additional expenses of maintaining your storage solution. These include the real estate cost of your data centre and the electricity costs associated with powering it.


Upgrade your data storage

Looking for a new data storage solution? Give one of our expert team a call on 1300 161 625. We can help you design a data storage solution to meet your unique needs and work with you to implement it.

Optimise your data storage

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Explore cloud storage solutions

Want to find out more about data storage? Download our comprehensive guide to modern data storage. Featuring expert insights, this guide will help you understand how to build the ideal storage solution for your organisation. 

Tags:CloudEnterprise and GovernmentProductivity

Written by

Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael has worked as a content marketer since 2016, predominantly in the B2B space. He is passionate about writing educational content that helps small and medium businesses run, grow and...

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