The storage consolidation journey Part 2

The first stage in the consolidation journey is physically collocating storage into fewer locations, or even one central location. Storage collocation also allows a professional IT administrator to be responsible for all of an organization ’s storage. Administrators can identify what data they

have and begin adopting common management strategies, processes, and tools. Collocation sets the stage for additional consolidation stages. The business benefits of collocation are:

  • Reduced administration and support costs – addressing the issues highlighted under distributed storage
  • Cost savings –reduced floor space and HVAC requirements
  • Enhanced security –hardware and data in fewer locations is easier to secure
  • Network enhancements –reduced bandwidth costs and higher performance
  • Improved management –common interfaces enable software management tools
  • Better planning –a basis from which to plan future upgrades and improvements to the storage environment

Having a better basis for planning is a very important benefit for business continuity. In a distributed storage environment it is difficult to set one overall business continuity strategy – backing up, making provision for rapid recovery of important data, building a failover system. There are too many disparate pools of data. Collocated storage makes it easy to centrally plan and implement a business continuity strategy.

Hardware and data integration

When organizations have physically collocated storage, additional business benefits can be gained from integrating storage hardware and data. Hardware integration is accomplished by consolidating storage systems with the same application types onto fewer or larger systems. Data integration is accomplished by combining data with different formats onto the same storage device, creating a centrally managed pool of storage. The storage can be accessible across different hardware platforms, applications, and operating systems.

At this stage, organizations may also want to consider a different approach to deploying and managing storage –such as moving from direct attached to networked storage. The business benefits of hardware/data integration are:

  • Fewer devices – reductions in hardware costs can be gained from reducing the number of servers and storage devices
  • Increased efficiency – storage utilization can increase, reducing installed capacity and cost of storage
  • Improved performance – network performance, removing server interactions for shared data, higher performance devices
  • Staff efficiency gain – reduction in staffing required for operations and systems support
  • Lower component cost – centralizing spending on storage can improve leverage when negotiating with suppliers
  • Lower software costs – larger discounts when purcha

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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