Dave Reinsel, program

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-10-19 Print this article Print

In the never-ending quest for storage, three experts in the field tell you how to get more for less.

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  • Dave Reinsel, program director, storage research, IDC

    Dave is program director of IDC's storage research group. Reinsel and his team of analysts provide insight and analysis for I.T. professionals, investors, resellers, distributors and manufacturers. His research team is responsible for delivering forecasts and analyses on disk storage systems, hard-disk drives and component technologies, as well as for providing quarterly tracking and analysis on numerous metrics related to these markets. He has more than 12 years of experience within the I.T. industry.

    In 2002, he published IDC's first-ever detailed report on HDD component technology, and in 2003 co-authored the industry's first extensive report on external drives, as well as an in-depth report that probed the impact of serial ATA drives and tiered storage on data centers. In addition to his research responsibilities, Reinsel provides custom research and consulting for IDC clients on industry trends, product requirements and marketing strategies, and speaks at numerous conferences worldwide. Here's what he told us:

    Tip 1: Consolidate the large amounts of storage on stranded low-end servers through server virtualization and low-cost storage networks.
    Although many companies have made the move to storage area networks, many have not, especially medium-sized companies. The cost to maintain numerous servers throughout a company can be overwhelming and needless. Today's virtualization technologies and low-cost storage networks enable companies to consolidate many server and storage platforms into significantly fewer ones. Virtualization can help streamline the management interfaces, improving efficiencies and decreasing required support personnel.

    Tip 2. Migrate rarely accessed TBs from expensive SCSI/FC storage to lower-cost ATA storage.
    ATA-based storage carries a 3:1 to 4:1 advantage from a $/GB perspective. Most of the time, fixed data access requirements are handled easily by ATA-based systems that don't have the high-performance attributes of SCSI/FC-based storage arrays. Consider virtualization strategies to optimize storage asset management and administrator efficiency.

    Using ATA-based storage introduces a tiered storage environment that can pose challenges from a management perspective. Conflicts in management tools, communication protocols and additional resources can diminish the value of a tiered storage infrastructure. Virtualization helps to remove many of these potential conflicts.

    Tip 3. Consider virtual tape solutions to improve application and data recovery speed and reliability, as well as improve tape library asset utilization.
    Tape has been and will forever be, but there is much room for improvement. Virtual tape libraries can help optimize the use of physical tape libraries by helping to ensure more complete usage of cartridges, reduced redundancy of data being written to tape (via data de-duplication at the virtual layer), and a refinement of what is being written to tape (with less-important data remaining at the virtual layer).

    Tip 4. Upgrade to larger, more power-efficient systems.
    Power and cooling are becoming a top priority for end-users. Various technologies and strategies already discussed (e.g., virtualization and consolidation) can reduce the number of pieces of hardware powered on. In addition, one might be able to take advantage of more efficient hardware (e.g., cooler disk drives) by adopting new hardware or reducing the necessary footprint of the data center, which equates to less cooling and lower real estate costs.

    NEXT PAGE: Tips from Data Mobility Group

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