How to make smart decisions about purchasing storage

Smart storage planning involves forecasting data growth. Here are some pointers for investing in a storage management tool.

Data grows, no matter what; however, with rising pressures on budgets, companies are getting nervous about purchasing more and more storage.

"In the past, a common practice has been to overbuy storage ahead of demand," says Dan Hoffmann, director of storage solutions for BMC Software . "However, with the price of storage dropping continuously, companies can save a lot of money by buying only what they need, when they need it. But to do so, you must be confident about growth. And for that, you need accurate data about your storage."

To accumulate the information needed to forecast growth, Hoffmann recommends companies invest in an application-centric storage management tool that will do the following:

  • Inventory the storage devices installed on your network. "Companies routinely inventory network assets," says Hoffmann. "However, rarely do they have good statistics on storage usage. Find a tool that will hunt out storage devices and describe what and where they are."

  • Gather application-specific usage statistics. "Data is power," Hoffmann says. "The tool should give you detailed statistics on how the storage is used as well as who the biggest consumers are--by function, application, and file type, not just in total gigabytes. Only when you know which applications are growing the fastest, can you manage your storage purchases wisely."

  • Report information for all storage configurations. "No one configuration --direct-attached, network-attached, or SAN-attached -- is the right choice for every application," Hoffmann says. "Consequently, the tool must be capable of gathering metrics for all configurations installed on the network."

"Deferring expenses is smart," says Hoffmann. "Gathering and analyzing historical data is the key to making smart decisions about purchasing storage and controlling your budget."

For information about BMC Software's Application-Centric Storage Management approach, see An Application-Centric Storage Management Approach Eases Storage Decision-Making.

About the author: Linda Christie is a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She's the author of the bimonthly "Storage Management" newsletter published by SearchStorage.com.


This was first published in April 2001

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