40% utilization saps IT resources

40% utilization saps IT resources
By Linda Gail Christie

According to a study performed by Cahners In-Stat Group, the cost of managing storage has risen to 91% of the cost of the media, or about $3.50 per year per megabyte. While this trend is staggering, what's even more troubling is the fact that most companies are running at 40% utilization--for every dollar spent on storage assets, 60 cents is wasted.

According to Ruya Atac, senior director of Enterprises Markets for StorageNetworks, a leading SSP, driving costs out of storage management expenditures requires a multifaceted approach few enterprises are equipped to handle. "Inefficient environments contribute to waste," Atac said. "However, few IT departments are taking advantage of technologies and strategies that can lower their costs, because they don't have the time or expertise to do it."

With over 3,000 combinations of storage hardware, software, and management components alone, Atac says IT managers need to be constantly looking at vendor-agnostic, best-of-breed technologies capable of improving efficiencies. The common practice today, though, is to stick with a limited number of technologies they know and understand.

"Working with a few vendors requires less training," she said. "However, limiting your choices increases your technology risks and your costs since this technology may be more expensive than what's needed to support a particular application. Or, perhaps it's a cheaper solution that will have to be scrapped six months down the road, because it won't scale to meet growing demand."

Prior to bringing new technology online, however, Atac cautions that companies should test the solutions to validate vendor claims and to make certain that they really work in a heterogeneous environment. "Unfortunately, few companies can support a test lab," Atac said. "So, often, when equipment is dropped on the floor, it doesn't work or you find out features aren't available yet."

Atac says the do-it-yourself approach of acquiring shrinkware and hardware to improve storage utilization is not the best answer. "IT departments need to leverage the expertise of SSPs and storage management companies that can help them architect and test efficient storage solutions, co-manage storage points of presence (SPOPs), or even move such operations as backup and replication offsite, for example. Only then will they start to get control of their total cost of ownership."

For more information on StorageNetworks, visit their website at http://www.storagenetworks.com/

About the author: Storage management tips are written by Linda Gail Christie, a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Okla.

Related Book

The Holy Grail of Date Storage Management, 1e
Author: John William Toigo
Summary: Depending on the analyst one follows, corporate IT departments will spend between 75 and 90 cents of every dollar over the next five years on data storage products. The reason is simple: Companies are generating data at a phenomenal rate and increasing their requirements for data storage by 100 percent or more per year. In The Holy Grail of Data Storage Management, Jon William Toigo documents current trends in storage technology and shows IT executives exactly how to plan a comprehensive strategy for maximizing the availability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of enterprise storage.


This was first published in March 2001

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