Business organisations are now aware of the advantages that are associated with centralised storage services, especially on shared drives. In fact, there has been an increasing trend of cloud storage and the corporate entities as well as the SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises). Some of the cloud storage facilities that have become very popular are Google Drive and Dropbox. It must be known to all website owners and business managers that central management and consolidation of information are also possible in case of servers. In fact, it gets extended to the applications as well as websites the servers serve. It must be kept in mind that storage as well as computation are separated in case of virtual environment. This is where it becomes extremely important and sometime critical.

When it is comes to centralised storage, it essentially means storage of data, files, and databases that are shared among servers for computation over a network. This is what is known as networked storage. It is important to note that networked storage concept is significantly different from either local storage of data in same chassis. In fact, networked storage concept is also way different from Direct-Attached Storage, which essentially means that the data to be stored is directly attached in a neighbouring server.

When is Centralised Data helpful?

It is very helpful when two or more servers look out for same data access. The most common ways where centralised data are useful are in high-availability systems. This means that they become extremely helpful in cases where replication as well as redundancy have important role to play. In fact, they are also helpful in case of virtualised environments, especially where virtual servers get created on an automatic basis or in quick successions.

There are many benefits associated with centralised storage. A business entity can manage data as well as hardware in an easier and efficient manner by keeping data in a single place. This ensures that the business organisation able to exert closer and more control on –

Version control
 Data protection, and
 Security

This means the user is able to get –

Single and consistent data set
 Enhanced hardware control
Better performance as well as capacity control

When a business is able to focus its efforts in a single place through centralisation of data then it leads to reduction of expenditure, on one hand, and at the same time lessening of risk, on the other.

What are the Pros and Cons?

Pros

With the incorporation of centralized storage solutions you get lifetime of reliability, enhanced disk performance, and most importantly redundancy.
When you take help of a third party data center for centralised storage in a single place, the risks associated with the hardware as well as network management are further decreased.

Cons

The disadvantage associated with centralisation of storage facility (including cloud storage and data backup) is that the business has to make initial investment in that. You can decrease this overhead initial investment by opting for a 3rd party data center storage solution.

What are the Popular Storage Configurations?

There are mainly three types of popular storage configurations available and they are –

1. NAS (Network-Attached Storage) – This architecture is especially helpful in connecting with multiple application servers for centralisation of storage servers with replication as well as failover. Every application server accesses same data.

2. SAN (Storage Area Network) – This kind of storage configuration is believed to be a better one than that of Network-Attached Storage. Per the Storage Area Network, a redundant array of disks is available and can be seen by the servers as a local volume. The two main advantages that a user will get from Storage Area Network over Network-Attached Storage are –

a. faster disk I/O performance
b. Higher availability

To put it is simple manner it can be said that this popular storage configuration helps in –

Provisioning centralised access to databases that are I/O intensive
Common virtualisation clusters

3. High Availability Cluster (HAC) – When you get a High Availability Cluster or HA cluster (more commonly called), they contain the following –

a. File storage
b. Database servers
c. Application servers
d. Web servers

Distribution of traffic is done with the help of load balancers, thereby ensuring failover in application or hardware failure cases.