Storage Consolidation, Virtualization, SAN, and NAS

There are continual advances in storage technology that drive down storage-related costs, including storage consolidation using storage area networks (SAN), network-attached storage (NAS), and storage virtualization. Improved disk drive performance and storage utilization provide ways to get more for less. Implementing new storage technology allows you to sunset lower-end storage and saves costs in footprint, power, maintenance, and support.
Top Tip: Disk technologies

"We experienced tremendous cost avoidance by implementing new technology for disk archiving, de-duping, and compression. It took two and a half months to realize the value, but we experienced a 90% reduction in disk space. This also saved rack space, power, maintenance, and depreciation."
—Greg Hayhurst
Tennant Company

Storage virtualization makes various separate hard drives act like one large storage pool. With virtualized storage, you spend less time managing storage devices, storage is more efficient, and you are better able to manage utilization. You can add or replace drives without affecting other storage devices as the virtualization software manages traffic. Backup and mirroring are faster as you only copy data that has changed. Rather than having small, unmanaged pools of storage located throughout the company, you are able to realize significant cost savings by consolidating storage in a SAN and virtualizing storage. The control layer of virtualization allows the data to be physically located in a remote site or at multiple sites, which provides options for backup and disaster recovery.
Some companies have also reduced costs with storage virtualization by doing thin provisioning, which is fooling a drive into thinking it has more capacity as excess data is stored on another drive.
Array-based virtualization also provides expansion to an entire array of disk Network-based storage virtualization manages storage over the network.
Advancements in virtualization and SAN technology will continue to provide more storage at reduced costs. Storage is definitely one area where retaining older technology is actually more expensive than implementing newer state-of-the-art options.

Disk De-Duplication

De-duplication is another storage technology that is saving companies money. It searches for duplicate files and consolidates to a single file. This is possible with storage virtualization.

Tiered Storage

Often, companies assign storage based on what is available rather than analyzing the right storage based on business needs. Tiered storage provides lower cost storage for applications that access storage less often or for areas that require lower performance or reliability. This can save 30 to 50 percent of storage needs. Match the business needs to the storage performance and reliability in order to provide overall storage at a lower cost.

Manage Use of Storage

Similar to network bandwidth, you can never have enough storage. In a cost-conscious environment, it is not prudent to continually purchase additional storage without proper management of the storage you have. Ensure that you properly manage your storage usage and report storage costs. Companies often use only a percent of the allocated storage leaving hidden pockets of unclaimed storage. The following are ways that companies have saved money in the management and use of storage:
  • Report and analyze how much storage you have, how much is allocated, and how much is used. Right size file allocations to only what you need for the next six months or less.
  • Limit personal storage volumes. Have and enforce a policy on storage use.
  • Follow policies for storage left from terminated employees as reclaiming even a few gigabytes per employee amounts to savings.
  • Enforce archiving policies that are consistent with records management policies.
  • Reduce tape volumes. Review backup and retention policies. Implement de-compression and de-duplication technology. Eliminate third party, off site tape storage if possible. Eliminate legacy tape cartridges.
  • Review and clean up storage on a regular basis.
  • Examine the possibility of using storage in the cloud services that many WAN and Internet services provide. This can save on acquisition and support costs.