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Vol. 5 No. 3 May 2006

Thin provisioning: Blessing or curse?

STORAGE MANAGERS in the market for a new SAN array may be tempted by a new feature of some arrays--thin provisioning--but not all users who have tried it are sold on the concept. Thin provisioning, sometimes called oversubscription, is a way to quickly get capacity to an application. It's a feature of some virtualized storage arrays where the storage controller allocates storage to the application, but releases it only when the capacity is required. When utilization of that storage approaches a predetermined threshold, the array automatically expands the volume without involving the storage administrator. Thin provisioning helps storage administrators break the old habit of overprovisioning storage--a common practice used to protect against having to continually grow volumes and LUNs. Vendors with thin provisioning include 3PAR, which pioneered the concept, as well as Cloverleaf Communications, DataCore Software, LeftHand Networks, Network Appliance and Pillar Data Systems. Some users love thin provisioning. Warren Habib, CTO at...

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Features in this issue

  • Quality Awards: Top NAS products

    In the latest Diogenes Labs-Storage Quality Awards survey, users chose enterprise and midrange NAS winners from more than 20 product lines. A NAS mainstay and a relative newcomer to the category took the top honors.

  • Keep end-user storage in check

    With free e-mail services offering up to 2GB of storage, it's tough to convince corporate e-mail users that mailbox limits are needed. But companies are realizing that user storage quotas are a necessary evil.

  • Windows NAS gets gussied up

  • Single-pane storage management

    Managing a heterogeneous storage environment means juggling a hodgepodge of vendor-specific tools. Some vendors are working toward a consolidated management console, but standards are needed for single-pane storage management to become a reality.

  • Vendor support falls short

    A recent survey from TheInfoPro shows that storage vendors' support of their products is still a sore point among users. The good news is that some vendors are finally paying attention.

  • New tape formats are bigger, faster & safer

    Tape capacities and data transfer rates are growing, but before you get hooked on the speeds and feeds, there are several key points worth considering.

Columns in this issue

  • Disaster Recovery Extra: Editorial

  • ILM isn't just tiered storage

    by  James Damoulakis

    Storage tiers are the first step toward true information lifecycle management. But they're only a small step—the key to ILM success is aligning your data with its business value.

  • Vendors need to create products specifically for SMBs

    Storage Bin: All too often, storage vendors treat small- to medium-sized businesses as second-class citizens. SMBs have the same needs as enterprises, so rather than giving them hand-me-downs, vendors need to create products specifically for this group. Vendors just might find that those products have the features that enterprises want, too.

  • Storage tears

    Storage tears

  • Data storage security trends

    by  Jon Oltsik

    2005 was a big year for storage security, with major vendors doing more than just paying lip service. Vendors are beginning to integrate security into new products or add encryption capabilities. But there's a lot more to do in 2006 to build a secure storage infrastructure.

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