Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Storage Optimization:

One of the biggest concerns expressed by CIO’s is the underutilization of resources. In my recent posts I talked about the need to understand what vendors actually mean when they refer to storage utilization and what percentage of the raw storage is actually available to the consumer for useful work. However device overhead is not the only resource thief, the operating system can significantly impact storage utilization or efficiency.

The best example is to compare the 40% +/- storage utilization common in open systems environments and the 80%+/- enjoyed by the mainframe user that have the benefit of a broad storage management toolset that has evolved in the mainframe space over many years.

However the open systems world is catching up with a number of innovative techniques that can be employed to significantly improve storage utilization.

The following chart summarizes optimization techniques and is extracted from Storage Panorama[1], an excellent reference and discussion on the data storage business.

Storage Issue...................Solution.....................Typical Savings
Too many devices................Virtualization..............................Variable
Storage over-allocation.......Thin Provisioning........................25% – 30%
Data Redundancy................Compression...............................50% - 66%
Duplicate data.....................Data De-duplication.......................>80%
Optimize data placement...HSM/DLM/Tiering...................10% - 50%
Short Stroking drives..........SSD technology............................5% - 10%
Infrastructure costs............Tiered storage............................Variable

However the most effective way to improve the useful utilization of storage resources is to avoid storing useless data. Data that has no corporate value is not only a financial burden but could become a legal liability in the event of an e-discovery event. Sound data management practices that identify and delete unnecessary data should be the first phase of any project designed to improve storage utilization.



[1] Fred Moore, Horison Strategies, “Storage Panorama”.

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