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Why you should stop buying storage

Ross O. Storey | July 28, 2009
Another key cost-saving strategy for data centres

When I was recently able to fit nearly my entire CD music collectionof some 1,500 songson a 16 gigabyte media card in my Blackberry Bold, and still have space to spare, I began to realise the amazing advances that have been made in digital storage. And I also became aware of the limited future that CDs have as a storage medium.

Ive even read about a 32 gigabyte media card which is apparently soon going to be available in the US, but I couldnt find it in Singapore when I last looked.

This continuing amazement about storage volumes crossed my mind last week at our day-long annual MIS Asia magazine IT Summit and IT Excellence Awards event in Singapore.

Fast growing storage costs

One of our vendor speakers, in a pretty star-studded line up, was Symantec Singapores manager, systems engineering, Ronnie Ng, who gave a presentation entitled Stop Buying Storage: Start Optimising Your Data Centre. Ronnie made the point that storage costs are currently growing faster than IT budgets and that senior IT executives were no longer just concerned about return on investment (ROI), but now wanted return on yesterday (ROY). This was his way of stating what all CIOs are very much aware ofthe latest demands for a much quicker return on any investment, due to the water-tight grip that most enterprises now maintain on their spending.

Ronnie quoted Ray Paquet, from Gartner, as saying that over the last five years, storage is probably the fastest-growing component of cost in the overall data centre. According to Gartner, by 2012, users will install 6.5 times the amount of terabytes that they installed in 2008. Too many enterprises are now taking the easy approach in just buying more and more storage capacity, instead of properly using what they already have.

Addicted to buying more?

Ronnie also quoted research that indicated that 79 per cent of users believe utilisation can be improved, but 51 per cent are still planning to increase storage purchases in 2009. Surprisingly, this was despite 39 per cent of the same users acknowledging that they could stop buying storage for more than one year, if they took appropriate action.

Ronnie told our delegates that this research found that strategies including: Thin provisioning or data reduction, data compression, de-duplication, and single instance store, can greatly reduce storage growth and may actually allow us to not purchase any storage for a year.

He pointed to strategies such as improve storage utilisation, the adoption of thin provisioning, the implementation of deduplication and archiving for optimisation, as key ways to achieve significant storage savings. With data centres currently consuming two-thirds of most major enterprises IT budgets, saving on storage costs seems another valuable approach.


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