While getting information at the mouse-click or finger-flip might appear simple to many of us, it can often be a challenging work for those involved in the background to make that experience pleasant. Sometimes, it can be a nightmare for them to protect data from the e-tantrums like the Bash Bug or Shellshock.
Data centers, data management – the terms are as old as the Internet itself and, perhaps, they are the building blocks of the Internet, and laid the foundation of the Information Technology as a whole. In fact, all Internet giants, the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, among others have them to run their businesses. Broadly speaking, a data center is more than just an abode equipped with networks, servers and storage, and infrastructure to secure and protect information created by users through a multitude of applications, and make it accessible to intended users.
Nowadays, the functionality aspect has ensued into a whole new discipline i.e. data management. Let’s discuss about the four core operational functions or pillars of data management which is handled by IT staff on a daily basis.
Provisioning: User-created data is stored using the storage resources of the data centers. This is accomplished in a sequence, including storage management, I/O performance management, data tiering (placing data at the right level or tier for quick access), capacity management, access protocol management (iSCSI, FCP, iFCP, FC-IP, IP, IB, etc), RAID management, object management, metadata management, access management, I/O troubleshooting, and security.
Protection: Data centers have to be immune. External factors, including physical or logical, should not breach into them, steal information and make any change to an existing information format. This is the most demanding area in term of investment. Reliable data centers are doing a lot to improve their storage and protection technology to suit different data type and data structure. The task often includes backup, snapshots, cloning, data striping, erasure coding, journaling, mirroring. Some data centers have extended it to ECC logic, parity generation, R/W verify operations, and encryption.
Replication: To make sure that changes of data center technology or sudden disasters don’t have any negative impact on the agility or accessibility of data, data management is accompanied with WAN management, encryption, mirroring, disaster recovery and business continuity, synchronous and asynchronous protocol management.
Recovery: This has gained traction today as businesses and consumers demand consistent access to data. Most of the data recovery functions overlap with that mentioned in other pillars. Developing recovery strategy demands, understanding of where and how the data is stored. Based on that data center owners come with desired data retention policy management, storage management, network management, data archiving, data and application consistency grouping, server management, database administration and security policies.
Date: October 8, 2014