Exponential growth of storage capacity and how to manage it

To address these issues, many businesses are replacing their DAS resources with fabric attached storage (FAS) solutions. As new investment in storage hardware moves away from DAS, many of the inefficiencies and costs around storage islands go away. A report by McKinsey and Merrill Lynch estimated that

the total cost of ownership (TCO) for storage hardware drops from $0.84/MB to $0.35/MB and $0.38/MB for network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN), respectively. The majority of these savings comes from the better utilization of IT staff to manage larger, network-based storage environments.

FAS (includes both NAS and SAN) solutions offer many advantages over DAS alternatives, including:

• Centralizing management to improve staff efficiency for monitoring and administration

• Enabling storage to be more readily available to any servers on the network, making stored information a more valuable asset, and increasing the utility of the network itself

• Improving the availability, usefulness, and distribution of business applications

• Making automation simpler, and reducing IT operational costs and staffing requirements

• Providing greater visibility into the availability and performance of storage components

• Facilitating continuous availability requirements

FAS solutions make data and information more manageable and accessible, improving staff productivity. While many of these functions have been provided at a vendor-specific level to-date, going forward, the open-standards Common Information Model (CIM) will hasten the development of a unified management environment to support a diverse set of heterogeneous technologies.

As a result, companies are faced with the challenge of integrating and managing their existing storage infrastructures with emerging, network-based storage architectures.

Very few corporations have the budget to totally replace their legacy storage investments with newer technologies. For most enterprises, this has created an infrastructure that is a complex mix of both OS-specific DAS solutions and a growing network-based storage environment. Many companies also refuse to be locked into a single-vendor solution. In a recent survey of enterprise storage managers completed for

Hitachi, 83 per cent of respondents indicated that maintaining a heterogeneous environment would be necessary and desirable for the foreseeable future for a variety of reasons, such as the need to leverage their existing investments and the need to maintain flexibility.

In light of this, many companies need new storage management approaches that can look across both old and new storage topologies to provide a complete operational view of their enterprise, as well as a single management console across hardware and software products from multiple vendors. The solution? An open, standards-based approach to storage management must be the rule, not the exception. This approach allows enterprises to optimize their current infrastructure investments while creating a complete, manageable storage environment.

Open standards address key concerns, such as supporting changing business requirements, managing heterogeneous device topologies, and incorporating best-of-breed products to create a complete storage solution. An open, standards-based approach also provides customers with better tools to manage devices from multiple hardware and software vendors. These tools need to be easy to deploy and use, allowing storage managers to customize solutions and whole environments to their specific business requirements.

Hu Yoshida is with Hitachi Data Systems. Carlos Soares of Hitachi Data Systems and Theo Forbath of NerveWire, Inc. also contributed to this white.

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