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Smart Ways to Solve Your Company's Data Storage Problems

Generating data streams does not help much if you can not store them somewhere. The most obvious solution is, of course, to use multiple storage units, such as the hard disks in computers.

The Advent of the Cloud

Before the advent of the cloud, many companies had equipped themselves with storage centers. However, a lot of these users are now raising questions about the functions of these private centers. Remember, their use, often limited to the management of the data of a single company, poses the problem of under-exploitation.

Moreover, with the cost of installation, maintenance, and their consumption of electricity, data centers are also substantial drains on the financial resources of a business. The result is, therefore, counterproductive use of IT resources. Also, you should be aware that another disadvantage of traditional storage centers is they do not adapt to the changing needs of a company.

Data Security

serverCC Image via Flickr by CWCS Managed Hosting.

On the other hand, when using cloud data the question of data security and confidentiality arises because most cloud providers, such as Amazon, have their home base in the US. They are therefore subject to the Patriot Act. The United States adopted this law in the aftermath of the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, and it empowers the federal government to access data hosted on a U.S. company's server, regardless of the country where the server is installed. Therefore, this law has some requirements that worry some users.

With the vast masses of data, we have also seen the appearance of specific solutions that exploit this massive parallelism, with new models of programming using this parallelization. This task is all the more thorny as the data is not only very numerous, but also heterogeneous and dynamic. That's why new ways of storing information have emerged, especially under the guidance of large internet businesses, which often have to keep track of billions of web pages.

Also, cloud servers offer a centralized entry point that makes them vulnerable to attacks by hackers. Moreover, because many sites offer single access control for all their services, such as e-mail, calendars and access to documents, a successful attack can do a great deal of damage. Therefore, research focuses on detecting assaults before they occur and on the partitioning of data to counter these kinds of threats.

Obviously, the more you want to expand, the more IT workers you will hire. However, at the same time, their coordination becomes more complicated. In other words, stacking storage systems and hiring IT workers is not enough, it is also necessary to optimize the way they work together. Everywhere in the world, data centers are becoming more substantial and more significant while researchers are even inventing new storage methods.

Data Centers

Therefore, these data centers are everywhere, and they use massively parallel computing and storage systems that are installed to permit access to their data. Remember, the access to these centers may be via a private network or over the internet. These centers are a part of the cloud that lets you temporarily or permanently rent space and even computing time. This type of computing is therefore called cloud computing.

Cloud Computing

The advantage of this IT solution is that it can be cost-effective for users who only pay for what they need. These services may interest companies for non-strategic data, but sometimes it is difficult to have confidence in this system. Amazon has already experienced a breakdown such that data could not be recovered.

It is on this model that Amazon's elastic cloud of computing works, and this is a service targeted primarily at enterprises or more general public services such as Google Apps and Apple iCloud for computer users, tablets and telephones. Most of the time, servers store data legibly, and people who manage these servers have access to information from their clients.

In fact, the development of the cloud is still subject to many reservations. Many companies are reluctant to use them for confidentiality reasons. However, to solve this problem, it may be enough to encrypt the data for the customer before sending it to the cloud. There is research going on to improve this type of solution, but it makes it more complicated to access data, increases computation time and costs.

About the Author
About the Author Image

Gerard Ian Prudhomme, M.Sc.

has studied at Oxford, Harvard, and the University of London and has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, London, and Hawaii. He has a Master's of Science degree and has created myriad commercial, freeware, and open source software programs. Gerard has also written dozens of books. After founding his own company in 2009, he now works primarily as a freelance author and developer. He presently lives in Southern California.