Case Studies on Storage Consolidation

Arthur Cole

So much attention within the enterprise computer community is devoted to all the new stuff that's coming out, there's rarely time to examine how to implement and optimize the stuff that's here. That's why I'm glad I came across a couple of case studies this week examining the true-life experiences of storage infrastructure and consolidation projects.


The first is by Galen Gruman at looking into how ChoicePoint implemented iSCSI and a new tiering technique to rework an "organic" network that had grown to 2 petabytes over 10 SAN islands. The project required more than just technology, but new management structures and policies, as well. This is a handy guide for how to build an entirely new storage network from the ground up.


The other two I found were more product profiles, but at least they talk about how the systems are implemented into existing environments, rather than on the fancy features they have. This one describes how Statistics Canada, which oversees the Canadian census, used Symantec's Data Centre Foundation to cut 160 servers down to two Network Appliance storage systems. Over here is how RelData took on the University of Cambridge to help the Geography Department unify its disparate network into a single pool capable of the typical 100 MB-plus files in use.


It's been no secret that enterprises of all stripes have been paying greater and greater attention on their storage needs of late. But too often, storage expansions are made on an ad hoc basis, targeted at some specific need or another. New research from compression specialist Storewiz shows the vast majority of enterprises are looking to improve storage efficiency and boost management and backup capabilities, but few are budgeting for major revamps this year.


That, of course, isn't stopping the major vendors from pitching more holistic approaches to storage, with an emphasis on planning and expansion that was in short supply before. EMC, for one, recently rolled the new Symmetrix DMX-4 platform alongside the Power Calculator 2.0 system that helps you measure and manage your storage infrastructure.


Storage is very plant-like in the way it feeds and grows and responds to favorable environments. If it's getting harder to see the data trees through the storage forest, maybe it's time to get out the trimmers and turn it into a nice garden.

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