While the cost per terabyte of storage continues to fall, the amount of storage being consumed continues to grow unabated. As IT organizations cope with demands for lower costs, eyes are turning to storage as an expense culprit. Many IT organizations have already drastically cut server costs by increasing utilization rates through virtualization. The assumption is that the same logic should be applicable to storage arrays, where utilization rates are as low as servers used to be.
But storage virtualization is a lot trickier to manage than server virtualization. As IT organizations ponder the variety of technologies they can deploy to manage storage virtualization, the one thing that starts to raise its ugly head is allocation of storage costs.
When times were good, nobody thought much about the cost of storage. Every time a business unit or an application needed more storage, the IT organization essentially just added another storage array. But now IT needs to account for those purchases more stringently. For example, Cleversafe, which makes storage software that manages storage systems by slices of data, just added an enhanced application programming interface for integrating with billing systems that includes support for usage metrics and auditing.
According to Julie Bellanca, Cleversafe director of marketing, the storage vendor added this capability to help customers better account for storage assets, especially in cloud computing scenarios where storage is shared.
Cleversafe is hardly the first storage vendor to offer this capability. But these chargeback capabilities have not been invoked all that often by customers. Most internal IT organizations are not set up to charge individual business units for services rendered. However, with detailed usage metrics, you can at least show business units how much storage they are consuming.
Most times when people are shown how much they are consuming something they will make some effort to cut back. But at the very least the next time someone from the business side starts to complain about the cost of IT, you can clearly show them how they are actually a part of the problem.