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Turn the HDD shortage into a strategic opportunity

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With hard disk drive (HDD) prices rising and some models tough to find, there are steps to take to reduce your dependence on hard drives while gaining other benefits along the way.

The recent shortage of hard disk drives (HDDs) due to the floods in Thailand has many information technology (IT) people and vendors worried: Should they just pay the higher prices to get the drives they need, or turn to alternatives such as solid-state drives (SSDs)? Necessity being the mother of invention, I believe this is a great opportunity for IT to step back, take a holistic look and perhaps solve several problems at once. Of course, some needs can’t wait, so paying heavy premiums may be your only recourse.

But if your needs aren’t that urgent, consider the following:

Optimize and archive. Are you currently using primary storage capacity optimization tools that help you move data from primary storage to an archive platform such as tape or secondary disk? Effective archiving can ease the burden on your primary disk and help defer new HDD purchases. As an added bonus, applications will likely run faster because of lower capacity, and backups will be faster with less data to back up. And you won’t continue to back up the same unused data over and over, saving space on whatever backup media you use.

Time to dedupe. On the backup side, if you haven’t started using disk-based data deduplication, it may be time to start. Dedupe products

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can reduce disk requirements by a factor of 20 or more. If you only back up to tape right now, dedupe may help shorten backup windows, improve backup reliability and provide faster, more reliable recoveries, but this may mean buying additional disk. If you’re already backing up to disk, deduplication is a must. If you’re currently using deduplication, make sure it’s used with all backup sets.

This was first published in April 2012

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