Run storage as a utility


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Having different storage tiers greatly lowers overall storage cost, but storage tiers per se won't prevent valuable Tier 1 storage from being filled with inappropriate content and files that haven't been used for ages. To get the most out of storage, an increasing number of firms deploy data migration and information lifecycle management tools that automatically move data among different tiers based on predefined rules. For instance, rules can be defined to move all files that haven't been modified for more than three months to less expensive Tier 3 storage, or to purge redundant copies of certain file types. Automatic data migration, however, isn't without challenges and usually breaks down when there's a need to move data among different vendors' products. Most significantly, as files get moved among tiers, the cost of the storage service changes and it becomes more difficult to relay the correct cost of storage back to users. Fortunately, some SRM tools like EMC ControlCenter 6.0 can track storage cost as files move among tiers.

Storage management and reporting
Storage management plays an instrumental role in running storage services. Provisioning storage to end users, managing changes and being able to monitor, report and analyze the storage infrastructure are key areas that need to be properly addressed. Some companies have automated

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the provisioning process, harnessing process management apps like EMC IT Process Centre, which allows a storage administrator to design the provisioning process with a Visio-like tool and then turn it into an application to enforce the designed process. In other words, it generates all elements of a storage provisioning app, from request and approval forms to the workflow that enforces the actual process.

This was first published in December 2007

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