With the arrival of all the new faster and larger hard drives over the last few years, many businesses have allowed their data to grow at a rapid rate with the view that the amount of storage can be expanded quite easily with the addition of a few new 1TB hard drives.
For many organisations, file servers have become a dumping ground for files which may or may not be needed. User and managers have become far too relaxed in their approach as to what constitutes files for business use or files that are considered to be business critical, and it seems that archiving has become a thing of the past.
So what are the implications of this?
The first thing to think about is how this vast amount of data is going to be backed up. Offsite backup’s, which in today’s world is a must, becomes a lot more difficult as the data size increases. Not only does it become costly, the data needs time to backup and with so many people now working longer hours this makes the backup completion window smaller. Even with advancements in broadband speeds offsite backups tend to overrun if not managed properly, and in some extreme cases data volumes need to be backed up on different days as it is impossible to send all the data over the internet in the time frame given.
Next let’s look at scalability
Even though drives are getting larger most servers have a limit to the amount of Hard disks they can hold and also a limit to the maximum size of these disks. Once this limit is reached there is not much that can be done bar archiving, deleting files which may still be needed or buying a new server which will allow for larger disk space.
Lastly let’s look at data integrity
With no structure and files saved everywhere, what tends to happens is users save the same files in numerous different locations. Once this happens different versions of the same file start to creep out of the wood work and before you know it, the files are completely different and someone over writes one with another. This also makes things a lot harder when it comes to sorting the data out as all changes from all these documents will need to be manually updated.
Managing vast amount of data is no easy task and many IT support companies would recommend keeping your data volumes as structured as possible. Companies should adopt strict policies as to what is saved on file servers and any files which are not actively used and business critical should be archived to a storage solution such as a NAS.
To prevent data corruption and to keep the integrity of data, users should also be educated as to what can and can’t be saved to the server. It is also a good idea to create a coherent folder structure with strict rules as to what can be saved and where.
If you have any question on how to get the best out of your storage without causing issues with backup, contact your IT support team we will be able to guide you in the right direction.