The primary reason for centralizing or data consolidation is that doing so saves money. Microsoft's own studies demonstrate that centralizing storage can save over $2M annually:
- Centralized NT sites average 26 hrs downtime, vs. 54 hrs for decentralized
- 1 hr = $80,000 lost on average, average site saves $2.2 million per year by centralizing!
The main pitfall to consider is that many data centers have different vendor platforms -- some of the larger environments might have separate SANs along with NAS solutions often with different vendor solutions side by side, or they might have one vendor brand at one site and another vendor's storage solution at another. This can make remote replication problematic in that many of the vendor solutions are proprietary and do not offer interoperability. The only way around this is to look at consolidating these islands into a single managed pool using a SAN management solution that provides interoperability or by a costly infrastructure change to a single vendor solution. In either case, the long-term benefits could save millions.
One other concern is server upgrades that have not been validated by your storage consolidation vendor should not be installed. You will find yourself, out on a limb.
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This was first published in October 2002