Storage outlook '06: ILM a reality

In the second of our series on '06 storage trends, Charles Shepard, lead systems engineer for MGM Mirage says his company will walk a fine line between consolidation and expansion.

We first met Charles Shepard at the Storage Decisions conference in Las Vegas this past November. Amidst the constant blinking lights of slot machines and poker games in the casinos, each of which had a computer attached to manage money coming in, money going out (ha!), how many times it was played, who played…it was easy to see that Charles was on the forefront of the industry-wide headache of storage growth.

First, a quick picture of your storage environment (vendors, which products, how much capacity you are managing) and a line on what your company does.

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Charles Shepard: MGM Mirage is the premier hospitality gaming company in the world, consisting of over 20 properties. Information systems is basically centralized and utilizes three core computer rooms (data centers) that house the data storage infrastructure that consists of EMC Corp.'s DMX-3000s, Clariion CX-700s, Celerra, Centera systems, also Network Appliance Inc. systems, some other miscellaneous storage systems and Storage Technology Corp.'s PowderHorn silos for tape storage. We manage approximately 200 terabytes of raw storage in the SANs and two petabytes of tape storage.

What's your most important storage project for 2006?

Shepard: We are in the process of establishing a fourth data center and will be installing the storage infrastructure in that facility.

What are the key storage trends in your industry?

Shepard: Understanding and utilizing information lifecycle management .

What do you think will be the biggest hurdle to implementing storage in the coming year?

Shepard: Being able to consolidate at the same time that you are expanding…

What storage technologies are you evaluating for 2006? What looks interesting to you?

Shepard: Understanding how to manage and utilize tiered storage.

What kind of staff changes do you expect, if any, in 2006? What skills are you looking for your staff to gain?

Shepard: This one is a tough one and I will have to defer this question.

How do you see your storage utilization changing for the coming year?

Shepard: It is not changing, it only GROWS…

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