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Virtual storage brings savings

Storage virtualisation often performs two functions. It makes many storage systems look like one, simplifying the management of storage resources, and in some cases it provides partitioning so one storage system appears as many, providing security for applications that need to be separated.

Across most industries, data volumes are spiralling out of control as the amount of information and content we create grows exponentially. Data storage within most organisations is increasing by about 60% a year. This means that organisations have to increase their capital and operational expenditure in areas such as IT staff, power, cooling and forms two functions. It makes many storage systems look like one, simplifying the management of storage resources, and in some cases it provides partitioning so one storage system appears as many, providing security for applications that need to be separated.

Across most industries, data volumes are spiralling out of control as the amount of information and content we create grows exponentially. Data storage within most organisations is increasing by about 60% a year. This means that organisations have to increase their capital and operational expenditure in areas such as IT staff, power, cooling and even datacentre space.

Traditionally, organisations have tried to deal with growing data volumes by buying more discs. However, many organisations are finding that their storage infrastructures are becoming unmanageable, and the utilisation of these systems is unacceptably low, often running at 25% to 30%.

Stop buying capacity

There is a strong argument for firms to stop buying more capacity and, instead, look for ways to consolidate existing systems and increase utilisation. Storage virtualisation is an increasingly popular way for organisations to address these challenges.

Storage virtualisation aims to "melt" groups of heterogeneous storage systems into a common pool of storage resources. Suppliers have adopted a range of methods to achieve this. One technique is to let the server handle storage virtualisation, although as the server is removed from the storage system and has other functions to manage, performance can suffer.

Intelligent storage controller

One of the most widely used approaches is to use the intelligent storage controller as the virtualisation engine. This allows companies to aggregate existing storage systems and virtualise the services provided to host applications such as data protection, replication, authorisation and monitoring.

This offers advantages such as simplified management, increased utilisation of storage resources, seamless migration across tiers of storage, lowered interoperability barriers and better integration of common functionality.

Cost reductions

Virtualisation brings about cost reductions and efficiencies by reducing the need for additional software applications and licences, the need for additional hardware (which in turn means lower power, cooling and space costs) and also labour costs.

Typically, administrators can manage from three to 10 times more storage capacity once virtualisation is implemented.

Storage virtualisation allows organisations to consolidate and utilise existing storage assets, extending their life. Organisations can also consolidate their management and storage services, using a single standard interface to manage storage, archive and back-up functions.

● Hitachi Data Systems' Hu Yoshida will be speaking on "The Next Big Thing" in his seminar at Storage Expo 2007





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