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Cutting storage costs is easy; making the cuts sustainable is the difficult part.

MANY CLIENTS ASK US to "cut storage costs." Whether it's reducing the unit cost of storage, the overall total cost of ownership or the potential costly risks associated with poor storage management, it's easy for someone with the experience, sponsorship and time to identify cost-saving opportunities.

But what happens after the project is completed? A typical cost-cutting initiative is a short-term success, driven by the need to produce immediate, tangible results. Surprisingly, however, these efforts are often long-term failures. The cutting tends to address the symptoms only, while overlooking--or even exacerbating--systemic issues that are less-readily apparent.

Companies that aren't willing or ready to invest in sustainable solutions will find themselves going through the same cost-cutting exercise a year later. Here's how to move from short-term cost cutting to sustainable cost consciousness in your organization.

For most IT managers, the pressure to reduce costs is constant. They're often put on the spot, parrying questions about storage. If the cost-per-gigabyte of disk storage is dropping, why do costs keep going up? Why is data volume growing at an unchecked pace, driving purchase after purchase of more disk? What are all those storage people doing--does your team really need to be that big?

Over the last 15 to

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20 years, some application design has come to rely more on what's perceived as cheap and ubiquitous storage. Rather than using disciplined, sophisticated engineering to produce applications that perform better, many application engineers specify high-performance storage arrays and ample disk volume to meet performance requirements. Worse, they often overlook how applications purge data in a manner that complies with business and regulatory requirements. As a result, many companies end up keeping everything forever.

This was first published in March 2006

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