Get Instant Access
to This Blueprint

Infrastructure Operations icon

Enterprise Storage Solution Considerations

Narrow your focus with the right product type and realize efficiencies.

  • Enterprise storage technology and options are challenging to understand.
  • There are so many options. How do you decide what the best solution is for your storage challenge??
  • Where do you start when trying to solve your enterprise storage challenge?

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Take the time to understand the various data storage formats, disk types, and associated technology, as well as the cloud-based and on-premises options. This will help you select the right tool for your needs.

Impact and Result

Look to existing use cases based on actual Info-Tech analyst calls to help in your decision-making process.

Enterprise Storage Solution Considerations Research & Tools

1. Enterprise Storage Solution Considerations – Narrow your focus with the right product type and realize efficiencies.

Explore the building blocks of enterprise storage so you can select the best solution, narrow your focus with the correct product type, explore the features that should be considered when evaluating enterprise storage offerings, and examine use cases based on actual Info-Tech analyst calls to find a storage solution for your situation.

2. Modernize Enterprise Storage Workbook – Understand your data requirements.

The first step in solving your enterprise storage challenge is identifying your data sources, data volumes, and growth rates. This information will give you insight into what data sources could be stored on premises or in the cloud, how much storage you will require for the coming five to ten years, and what to consider when exploring enterprise storage solutions. This tool can be a valuable asset for determining your current storage drivers and future storage needs, structuring a plan for future storage purchases, and determining timelines and total cost of ownership.

Enterprise Storage Solution Considerations

Narrow your focus with the right product type and realize efficiencies.

Analyst Perspective

The vendor landscape is continually evolving, as are the solutions they offer. The options and features are increasing and appealing.

The image contains a picture of P.J. Ryan.

To say that the current enterprise storage landscape looks interesting would be an understatement. The solutions offered by vendors continue to grow and evolve. Flash and NVMe are increasing the speed of storage media and reducing latency. Software-defined storage is finding the most efficient use of media to store data where it is best served while managing a variety of vendor storage and older storage area networks and network-attached storage devices.

Storage as a service is taking on a new meaning with creative solutions that let you keep the storage appliance on premises or in a colocated data center while administration, management, and support are performed by the vendor for a nominal monthly fee.

We cannot discuss enterprise storage without mentioning the cloud. Bring a thermometer because you must understand the difference between hot, warm, and cold storage when discussing the cloud options. Very hot and very cold may also come into play.

Storage hardware can assume a higher total cost of ownership with support options that replace the controllers on a regular basis. The options with this type of service are also varied, but the concept of not having to replace all disks and chassis nor go through a data migration is very appealing to many companies.

The cloud is growing in popularity when it comes to enterprise storage, but on-premises solutions are still in demand, and whether you choose cloud or on premises, you can be guaranteed an array of features and options to add stability, security, and efficiency to your enterprise storage.

P.J. Ryan
Research Director, Infrastructure & Operations
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Info-Tech Insight

The vendor landscape is continually evolving, as are the solutions they offer.

Storage providers are getting acquired by bigger players, “outside the box” thinking is disrupting the storage support marketplace, “as a service” storage offerings are evolving, and what is a data lake and do I need one? The traditional storage vendors are not alone in the market, and the solutions they offer are no longer traditional either. Explore the landscape and understand your options before you make any enterprise storage solution purchases.

Understand the building blocks of storage so you can select the best solution.

There are multiple storage formats for data, along with multiple hardware form factors and disk types to hold those various data formats. Software plays a significant role in many of these storage solutions, and cloud offerings take advantage of all the various formats, form factors, and disks. The challenge is matching your data type with the correct storage format and solution.

Look to existing use cases to help in your decision-making process.

Explore previous experiences from others by reading use cases to determine what the best solution is for your challenge. You’re probably not the first to encounter the challenge you’re facing. Another organization may have previously reached out for assistance and found a viable solution that may be just what you also need.

Enterprise storage has evolved, with more options than ever

Data is growing, data security will always be a concern, and vendors are providing more and more options for enterprise storage.

“By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!” (Visual Capitalist)

“Modern criminal groups target not only endpoints and servers, but also central storage systems and their backup infrastructure.” (Continuity Software)

Cloud or on premises? Maybe a hybrid approach with both cloud and on premises is best for you. Do you want to remove the headaches of storage administration, management, and support with a fully managed storage-as-a-service solution? Would you like to upgrade your controllers every three or four years without a major service interruption? The options are increasing and appealing.

High-Level Considerations

1. Understand Your Data

Understand how much data you have and where it is located. This will be crucial when evaluating enterprise storage solutions.

2. Plan for Growth

Your enterprise storage considerations should include your data needs now and in the future.

3. Understand the Mechanics

Take the time to understand the various data storage formats, disk types, and associated technology, as well as the cloud-based and on-premises options. This will help you select the right tool for your needs.

Storage formats, disk drives, and technology

Common data storage formats, technology, and drive types are outlined below. Understanding how data is stored as well as the core building blocks for larger systems will help you decide which solution is best for your storage needs.


What it is

Disk Drives and Technology

File Storage

File storage is hierarchical storage that uses files, folders, subfolders, and directories. You enter a specific filename and path to access the file, such as P:\users\johndoe\strategy\cloud.doc. If you ever saved a file on a server, you used file storage. File storage is usually managed by some type of file manager, such as File Explorer in Windows. Network-attached storage (NAS) devices use file storage.

Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

HDD use a platter of spinning disks to magnetically store data. The disks are thick enough to make them rigid and are referred to as hard disks.

HDD is older technology but is still in demand and offered by vendors.

Object Storage

Object storage is when data is broken into distinct units, called objects. These objects are stored in a flat, non-hierarchical structure in a single location or repository. Each object is identified by its associated ID and metadata. Objects are accessed by an application programming interface (API).


Flash storage uses flash memory chips to store data. The flash memory chips are written with electricity and contain no moving parts. Flash storage is very fast, which is how the technology got its name (“Flash vs. SSD Storage,” Enterprise Storage Forum, 2018).

Block Storage

Block storage is when data is divided up into fixed-size blocks and stored with a unique identifier. Blocks can be stored in different environments, such as Windows or Linux. Storage area networks (SANs) use block storage.

Solid-State Drive (SSD)

SSD is a storage mechanism that also does not use any moving parts. Most SSD drives use flash storage, but other options are available for SSD.

Nonvolatile Memory Express (NVMe)

NVMe is a communications standard developed specially for SSDs by a consortium of vendors including Intel, Samsung, SanDisk, Dell, and Seagate. It operates across the PCIe bus (hence the “Express” in the name), which allows the drives to act more like the fast memory that they are rather than the hard disks they imitate (PCWorld).

Narrow your focus with the right product type

On-premises enterprise storage solutions fit into a few distinct product types.

Network-Attached Storage

Storage Area Network

Software-Defined Storage

Hyperconverged Infrastructure

NAS refers to a storage device that is connected directly to your network. Any user or device with access to your network can access the available storage provided by the NAS. NAS storage is easily scalable and can add data redundancy through RAID technology. NAS uses the file storage format.

NAS storage may or may not be the first choice in terms of enterprise storage, but it does have a solid market appeal as an on-premises primary backup storage solution.

A SAN is a dedicated network of pooled storage devices. The dedicated network, separate from the regular network, provides high speed and scalability without concern for the regular network traffic. SANs use block storage format and can be divided into logical units that can be shared between servers or segregated from other servers. SANs can be accessed by multiple servers and systems at the same time. SANs are scalable and offer high availability and redundancy through RAID technology.

SANs can use a variety of disk types and sizes and are quite common among on-premises storage solutions.

“Software-defined storage (SDS) is a storage architecture that separates storage software from its hardware. Unlike traditional network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) systems, SDS is generally designed to perform on any industry-standard or x86 system, removing the software’s dependence on proprietary hardware.” (RedHat)

SDS uses software-based policies and rules to grow and protect storage attached to applications.

SDS allows you to use server-based storage products to add management, protection, and better usage.

Hyperconverged storage uses virtualization and software-defined storage to combine the storage, compute, and network resources along with a hypervisor into one appliance.

Hyperconverged storage can scale out by adding more nodes or appliances, but scaling up, or adding more resources to each appliance, can have limitations. There is flexibility as hyperconverged storage can work with most network and compute manufacturers.

Enterprise Storage Solution Considerations preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Talk to an Analyst

Our analyst calls are focused on helping our members use the research we produce, and our experts will guide you to successful project completion.

Book an Analyst Call on This Topic

You can start as early as tomorrow morning. Our analysts will explain the process during your first call.

Get Advice From a Subject Matter Expert

Each call will focus on explaining the material and helping you to plan your project, interpret and analyze the results of each project step, and set the direction for your next project step.

Unlock Sample Research


P.J. Ryan

Visit our IT Cost Optimization Center
Over 100 analysts waiting to take your call right now: 1-519-432-3550 x2019