Reducing the Cost of Storage

Michael Vizard

There's an old maxim that says things measured are things down. The trouble with storage is that there hasn't been a whole lot of measuring going on.

After cutting server costs dramatically, most IT organizations are starting to turn their attention to storage costs. Unfortunately, while the cost per terabyte of storage continues to drop, the total volume of storage continues to increase.

And yet, most storage systems in place are not very efficient, with utilization rates running anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent. Even in environments where entire storage arrays are dedicated to a single application, the efficiency of the underlying storage system still leaves much to be desired. And with the advent of virtualization, things are getting worse as multiple applications attempt to share the same storage arrays, which winds up inefficiently dumping more data than ever on the same storage systems.

According to Chris Cummings, NetApp senior director for data protection solutions, a lot of the blame for this situation falls on the storage vendors. For the most part, they generally failed to give customers the tools they needed to manage and optimize storage. Truth be told, it really wasn't in the interest of the storage vendors to provide those tools.

NetApp has been trying to make amends for that with a NetApp SANscreen storage management tool. Version 6.0 of that tool, which adds integration with IT management tools from BMC Software, was released this week.

At a time when IT organizations are on their hands and knees looking for every dollar they can find, storage has remained a stubbornly high percentage of the IT infrastructure budget. The good news is that the tools to start doing something about this are finally at hand. Now all that's needed is the will to do something about it.

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