CIOs bullish on unified storage

Shilpa Shanbhag

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‘It is very important that one picks the right storage solution’

-Subhashini Ramakrishnan, chief technology manager, Dax Networks

Be it server or user storage, the move towards centralized storage management is an integral part of infrastructural requirement for most IT departments today. Unified storage enables the possibility to run and manage files and applications from a single device. Advantages of unified storage are reduced hardware requirements, simpler to manage than separate products, users benefit from advanced features like storage snapshots and replication that offer high reliability, they also enable convenient and easy scalability.

Dax too has its own centralized storage infrastructure with the Dax NAS. To this end, this unified storage system consolidates file based and block based access in a single storage platform and supports IP based SAN (iSCSI) and NAS (Network Attached Storage) thus meeting storage needs for servers and users, respectively. The all-in-one Dax NAS is also equipped to serve as a web server, FTP server, download station, surveillance station supporting NVR, and live streaming for IP cameras. With the provision for RAID and replication, the box offers high availability and reliability for our organizations data.

“The premise of the dedicated unified storage platform is that it is inexpensive, easy to use, and fast for file sharing. The overall impact on TCO is definitely notable as the all-in-one-box concept simplifies manageability reducing operational costs. High availability and reliability of data is a major value add to your business’ data. Most importantly, convenience of scalability as your data continues to grow, is an important factor to be considered while you make your IT investments,” says Subhashini Ramakrishnan, chief technology manager, Dax Networks.

Talking about the caveats, Ramakrishnan says, “It is very important that one picks the right storage solution for your network’s needs. To be able to team-up with a solution provider who can precisely understand and foresee your storage requirements in order to suggest and implement the optimal solution is critical. The first step to this is to ensure clear analysis of your storage requirement including future expansion. By making a good initial storage investment, one can evade most glitches in your company’s storage infrastructure and ensure smooth functioning for a couple of years ahead.”


Big data is more than simply a matter of size. We would not comment much on this as Dax deals with Network Attached Storage (NAS) only. Therefore we would confine our control of data manageability to be able to access your data from anywhere on the internet and the storage box being cloud enabled to make your business more agile.
Multi-protocol and platform support, cloud enabled, accessibility from anywhere on the internet, online firmware upgrade, simple user share & quota management, scalability options without disturbing the initial set-up are some of the features of unified storage that make it future-proof. In effect, once set up the unified storage solution facilitates management and storage of data with ease and minimal investment in concurrence with the growth of data in your organization.

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‘We are also on our journey towards a unified storage system’

-KP Sunny, CIO, Federal Bank

Data storage is a huge challenge in the present environment. Data is pouring in multiple formats like files or discrete data. Every bit of information is valuable in identifying the future course of the business. Retrieving data is also equally important as that of storing data. Until yesterday, different type of data storage devices were required for storing file based data and block based data. Unified storage is a solution in which the user can accommodate any type of data in a single storage system. It provides a huge relief to any organization on the overhead of managing the storage subsystem.

“We are also on our journey towards a unified storage system. As a bank, we have to store multiple forms of data in file format as well as the transactional data. We have been accommodating these type of data in multiple storage subsystem. To maintain such systems, we have to put in large effort which prove to be costly. Retaining such resources is another big challenge.” informs KP Sunny, CIO, Federal Bank.

Storage from multiple vendors can provide multiple technologies which warrant people who can manage these devices. The older storages will have lesser storage space and will be hosting some form of data which may be of historic value. Still these data cannot be ignored as they have relevance in creating a good business intelligence information which will be required for deciding the future course of business. A virtualized environment will be able to accommodate such dissimilar storage subsystem in the environment and keeping it transparent to the user. It also can provide sufficient improvement in the data retrieval process depending on the capability of the virtualization header. Another important advantage is data tiering.

Data storage devices are a very delicate subsystem in the IT architecture. They are very sensitive to any organization as it hold the most important asset. Any chance of loosing the data will have to be seen seriously. Hence more care has to be exercised in identifying the right partner for this. Service rendered by the vendor is the most important factor in identifying a partner. Another aspect to be looked at is the technology used by the storage system. Care should be taken not to adopt an obsolete technology, as the newer ones have better performance and efficiency.

“As far as Federal Bank is concerned, we look for any type of information that is available about a customer. It might be a transaction data, an email sent by the customer, a scanned KYC document which was acquired during the account opening process or it can be the video footage that was captured during a visit to the ATM counter. Storage space is required for such large volume of information which might be relevant for a deep dive into the behavior of a customer. Looking at the type of file formats that are required to store these information, a unified storage will be the final destination towards which we will be moving to,” Sunny adds.

For a unified storage system to exist, a virtualization header is required. This header is capable of accommodating any type of storage subsystems behind it. This is a big advantage to the users, which provide the capability to working with any vendor for its storage space. Another advantage we see is the capability of creating a multi-tier storage subsystem. Data can be tiered base on its usability and relevance. They can also create tier base on the age of the data. This help us to store data that are used rarely even on off-line storages which are less costly. Advantage is on the cost incurred for data storage.


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‘We need to look at long-term needs’

-Darshan Appayanna, chief information officer, information technology and services, Happiest Minds Technologies

Unified storage is nothing but an extension of the NAS/DAS vendors to extend their functionality to match with the SAN vendors. I think it will be relevant for small and medium businesses where the file and block data can be merged to provide a cost-effective storage solution. Where performance is key, unified storage is not a viable option.

“As in the case of any typical medium to large enterprise, where we need to look at long term needs, unified storage does not make sense as the SAN storage benefits outweighs that of the unified storage. We have not analyzed this aspect (the proof points about the superior economics of unified storage) as it did not fit our needs,” feels Darshan Appayanna, chief information officer, information technology and services, Happiest Minds Technologies.

On the perspective of caveats, Appayanna feels that high performance and throughput will be limitations for unified storage. Appayanna further adds that it is a good starting point to build a central storage solution in startups and SMBs where block data and high throughput needs are minimal.

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