Mixed storage too much to handle?

For some time now growing organizations have responded to exponential data growth and the need for more storage capacity for their different applications by simply buying new disk storage systems. An additional server here, a storage area network there. It worked well enough in the short term but because organizations – particularly those in the healthcare, retail and government sectors – were essentially building separate and dedicated storage islands, data management complexity increased and so did costs. Not to mention the resource constraints – both physical storage resources and human resources – IT organizations face if this complexity and growth remains unchecked.

Among the many pitfalls and challenges related to these heterogeneous storage environments:

1. Poor storage utilization rates of different SANs
2. Increased time to administer the storage
3. Expensive to purchase snapshot/replication licenses on multiple SANs
4. Difficult to migrate data between storage systems
5. Increased energy and floor space costs

That’s where storage virtualization comes in – [Read more…]

Hooked On Storage Part 2: In-house solutions, heterogeneity and deep dives

In Part 1, we took a look at some of the big picture challenges facing IT pros when it comes to the exponential growth in storage needs. But what about the solutions? What factors should you be looking out for as you move to a more proactive – rather than reactive – storage strategy?

Gartner, in its latest Magic Quadrant for Storage Resource Management and SAN Management Software, describes an all too common approach to dealing with the internal storage crisis:

“A common method by which many organizations manage storage and attempt to obtain SRM data has been by writing in-house software, then manually transferring and combining data among sources using spreadsheets.”

Other organizations rely on storage-related tools included with the actual hardware they buy. But, as Gartner explains, that’s where one starts running into trouble:

“…this ‘build your own’ model is not sustainable … and is far more expensive and inaccurate than most organizations realize. This is because the costs of in-house software development and support are hidden burdens that need to be accounted for. Additionally, internal SRM tool development poses risks to organizations when, for example, employees change jobs, an organization may have to redesign and rewrite undocumented and unsupported legacy systems.”

In other words, a big headache. And it’s just the first of many. [Read more…]