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Storage server design
Keeping in mind the storage space, access speed, ease of administration, budget, recoverability and security, storage servers are designed. Design sophistication is further increased by the constant changing environment with addition of new hardware and technology replacing the old ones, while maintaining the same compatibility and accessibility. Vendors employ the queuing theory model to manage peak loads, throughput and response time. Servers may also incorporate dynamic load balancing system scheme for request distribution across the connected hardware.
A hard disk drive is long lasting primary hardware server equipment
Storage server types
There are two types of storage servers: dedicated and non-dedicated servers. A dedicated server is designed for exclusive usage as a file server with workstations specific for reading and writing files and databases.
Storage of data files is achieved by forming a disk array. The technology is developed to operate multiple disk drives together as a unit. A disk array has a cache (faster than a magnetic disk) as well as advanced storage visualization and RAID. The type of disk array used is dependent on the storage network.
Once a machine is configured and made public on the network, users can start accessing the available storage space on the storage server by ‘mapping’ the drives on their computers. After mapping, the computer’s operating system identifies the storage server as an addition drive. If the network configuration is done precisely, permission to all computers is granted to create, modify and execute files directly from the server whilst adding extra shared storage space to each connected computer.
File servers often integrate some form of system security to limit file access to specific users or groups. In large organizations security is handled by directory services like openLDAP, Microsoft’s Active Directory or Novell’s eDirectory. The servers are designed to work in a hierarchical computing environment wherein users, applications, files and computers are treated as distinct but related entities on a network which grants access based on group’s or user’s credentials. For small organizations authentication takes place directly at the server. But, for larger organizations, directory services include many file servers, potentially hundreds.