Hybrid Systems Transform Data Storage

By Jim Shaw, EVP of Engineering at Crystal Group Inc.

Hybrid solutions are growing in popularity, largely because they deliver the best of both worlds. Why choose chocolate or vanilla when you can have both in a twist cone, and where would we be without the winning combination of peanut butter and chocolate in peanut butter cups? The same approach is being applied in the information technology (IT) realm with success, particularly as it relates to data storage.

From the hardware standpoint, IT experts are using storage media that meet the needs of frequency of use, security, latency, and reliability to determine where and how data is stored. The terms hot, medium, and cold storage have been used to describe how the data is parsed. Hot data is usually needed quickly and often, so it resides on solid-state drive (SSD) technology; cold storage defines cloud-based rotational media; and warm is a combination of both. Much like Goldilocks, IT professionals are looking for the medium that is just right – and it’s a hybrid.

Data storage issues that were once hotly debated are now being solved with a hybrid approach. Increasingly, the optimal solution to today’s storage challenges is not option A or option B, but A and B with a little in between.

Individuals and organizations leery of putting sensitive files in the cloud opted and advocated instead for physical hardware storage systems. A growing number of them are now migrating to the middle ground: the hybrid cloud. The hybrid cloud is a mix of public cloud services and dedicated, private cloud with on-premises or local physical hardware; the public cloud and private cloud operate independently but are linked by a secure, encrypted connection.

Similarly, many a debate has ensued over hardware and software RAID (commonly known as redundant array of independent disks, but originally called redundant array of inexpensive disks). Two distinct RAID camps have existed, but the lines are blurring – driven by advances in technology, including powerful multi-core processors, that are helping overcome previous challenges related to speed and availability or reliability.

For more information on data storage visit our rugged storage solutions page.


About the author:

Jim Shaw is the Executive Vice President of Engineering at Crystal Group.  Since 2006, Jim has led the engineering department and the new product development team.

Jim’s revolutionary design prowess led to the birth of the rugged series (RS) chassis for the military and industrial computing markets. During Jim’s tenure at Crystal Group the company has expanded its rugged product lines with embedded, storage, displays, switches, carbon fiber options, and custom power supply designs.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining Crystal Group, Jim held a management position in engineering at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While at Rockwell Collins, he was honored three times as an Engineer of the Year nominee for his work in high performance electronics packaging. He has authored or co-authored eight international patents.