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BLOG: Optimising your cloud storage

Douglas Lo | May 3, 2012
Three elements should be considered -- consultation through a best practice framework; leading technology; and a strong connection with business value.

I talked to many CIOs and IT managers in the Storage Summit event last week, and they shared the view that it's really important to ensure our cloud service is fully optimised.

More importantly, three elements should be considered -- consultation through a best practice framework; leading technology; and a strong connection with business value.

As with any infrastructure decision, consultation is key to bridging the gap between technology and business value.

Storage Infrastructure Optimisation

Based on best practices developed over thousands of client engagements, IBM's Storage Infrastructure Optimization, or the SIO program gives a comprehensive approach to improve ROI, business productivity and results.

We must understand the fact that there is no one solution or product that suits the needs of all.

The first step is a comprehensive analysis of existing storage infrastructure processes, systems, utilisation rates and staffing levels.

SIO provides recommendations based on the five pillars: (1) Reclaim / Rationalise and Plan; (2) Virtualisation and Tier; (3) Backup / Restore and Disaster Recovery; (4) Storage Process and Governance Model; (5) Archive/ Retention / Compliance.

Taking an Asian telecom company as an example, it was able to project a US$74 million savings over three years through key practices including data rationalisation, virtualisation and right tiering, backup/restore and DR planning, and archive and retention.

Heterogeneous Storage Virtualisation

Heterogeneous storage virtualisation helps a company transition from a traditional storage infrastructure to a fully optimised cloud storage environment.  

Back in 2003, IBM developed the first storage virtualisation solution which has evolved into today's heterogeneous storage and function-rich virtualisation offering.

The solution is vendor dependent and can unify the management of a heterogeneous system, while decoupling the dependencies of individual usage.


IBM Cloud Storage uses best practices to drive application affinity to integrate with applications.

This improves responsiveness, availability, ease of provisioning, and resources expansion.

By leveraging auto-tiering technologies to boost performance levels, application performance can increase SAP ERP, VMware and Oracle performance, for example, by as much as 200 percent. For end-users, this translates into significant savings in time, effort and increased productivity.

Cloud storage is central to the cloud strategy and roadmap.

Understanding how to effectively and thoroughly evaluate cloud storage solutions will determine the success and value of your cloud computing investment.

What we need is a careful assessment, guided by the seven critical considerations of cloud storage that I mentioned in my previous blog.  And the best consulting and technologies will definitely help generate the greatest business value.

Douglas Lo works with the Consulting, Storage, Systems and Technology Group, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited.


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