Run storage as a utility


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You can achieve considerable cost savings if different tiers of storage are parceled out to business units on a pay-for-use basis.

Running storage as a centralized service has been touted as a good way to reduce costs, simplify storage administration and aid in compliance, but most companies are still far from parceling out storage to different business units in the way an electric company delivers electricity to homes.

Going from a distributed to a centralized storage infrastructure, which is needed to dispense different levels of storage services throughout the company, typically entails a multiyear effort that requires overcoming people, process and technological issues. Not all CIOs and IT managers are ready for such a radical change and, in some cases, it takes a revamp of the entire IT organization to make it happen.

There's little doubt about the merits of centralized storage services from an enterprise perspective. However, the goals and activities of business units and departments will almost always be viewed as a higher priority than a corporate initiative to lower storage costs or streamline storage management. A primary objection of business units is concern that they might not receive the same type and quality of storage they would if storage were under their auspices. "For business units, their storage is always more important than other groups'

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storage," says Doug Chandler, research director, infrastructure services research group at Framingham, MA-based IDC.

This was first published in December 2007

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