Many Paths to Improved Storage Utilization

Arthur Cole

Solutions to increase storage utilization are becoming increasingly varied as the drive to consolidate hardware kicks into high gear across the IT industry.


Whether through improved management software, enhanced network technology or entirely new hardware infrastructures, the name of the game is squeezing every last drop out of available resources.


Naturally, many of the newest solutions come with a healthy dose of virtualization.


EWEEK reports that a French startup called Seanodes recently introduced a storage module that lets you tap into application storage on the server as a virtualized storage pool, basically creating an internal SAN within the server. The company says its Exanodes software featuring the Shared Internal Storage (SIS) system does for storage what VMware does for servers, to the point where it may become unnecessary to provision additional storage at all.


Another startup called Parascale is using the disk capacity on Linux servers to devise storage pools into the petabyte range. The company's Virtual Storage Network (VSN) creates Control Nodes that oversee several hundred Storage Nodes and can move data to and from client applications at up to 50 MBps. The company is targeting its system at digital media and other data-intensive applications.


3PAR, meanwhile, has devised what it calls "virtual domains" for the Inserv storage server, allowing users to create up to 2,000 virtual arrays for each server. It does this by separating users or groups of users into their own administrative groups and then distributes workloads across common ports, processors and other resources. This cuts down on the number of physical storage systems because each group no longer needs to maintain its own storage based on their control and compliance policies.


iSCSI is also proving to be an effective means of improving storage utilization in Windows environments, according to this article at InfoStor Magazine, if only because it cuts down the need for large numbers of small servers each with their own direct-attached storage. DAS utilization is often less than 30 percent, while an iSCSI SAN can deliver 60 percent even without a sophisticated management stack.


Improved utilization does more than just save money. It institutes a new level of network efficiency and simplicity that improves quality of service for a more flexible and empowered work force.

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