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How does storage capacity growth affect operations?

Storage capacity is rapidly growing in the age of big data. Between additional staffing requirements and the costs associated with migration and infrastructure, there is plenty to fear when it comes to storage capacity growth.

In his Storage Decisions session, "Scale-up, scale-out: A survival guide for coping with capacity growth," Evaluator Group Senior Strategist and Analyst Randy Kerns gave IT experts reasons to look much closer at their organization's storage future.

In reference to operations, Kerns pointed out that more hands on deck may not be available as more data begins to come in.

"Do more people come with that data? It doesn't happen," Kerns said. "So then, you have to figure out ways to do more with less, so to speak."

Existing staff will likely have to handle more duties with regards to storage, backups, recoveries and migrations.

Migrations themselves are no picnic, as associated costs add up as the data piles up.

In his session, Kerns mentioned one organization he visited where the storage capacity growth had become so bad that administrators no longer had the time or resources to attempt a migration.

"The physical infrastructure, that's a big problem in a lot of places, especially with those that are constrained [as to] where their data centers are," Kerns noted, as he outlined what may impede a migration from happening.

So is all lost in the face of storage capacity growth? While Kerns (jokingly) recommended polishing up the old resume, there are some steps admins can take to avoid disaster; chief among them, staying out of reaction mode.

"Without a strategy in place for that, then you're in total reaction mode," he said.

Strategies can include monitoring storage use to predict what will be needed in the case of storage capacity growth. Many storage systems have incorporated monitoring tools that use external software or software-as-a-service dashboards to monitor and report on storage use.

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Transcript - How does storage capacity growth affect operations?

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of a video clip from Randy Kerns' presentation, "Scale-up, scale-out: A survival guide for coping with capacity growth," at Storage Decisions 2016 in Chicago. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Now, operations, normally you get more data. Do more people come with that data? It doesn't happen. So then, you have to figure out ways to do more with less, so to speak. You have to work very diligently on types of automation, or progression to new technologies that can get more accomplished.

Migrating data is one of those things where the laws of physics do apply for moving things down a pipe. Anybody know what the speed of light is? Do you know that if I move data on copper, it's a nanosecond per foot? A lot of things happen here that add to the cost.

One of the places I was just at had so much data, that the possibility to migrate has escaped them. There's not enough time to migrate the data now, they just have so much.

And … we need space, power and cooling. The physical infrastructure, that's a big problem in a lot of places, especially with those that are constrained [as to] where their data centers are. And then, obviously, the infrastructure for moving that data around.

So where's all the money coming from? Hopefully, I'm scaring all of you; that's the intention here. What you really need to do to start is figuring out how big the problem is and, more importantly, how big it's going to be. I always try to coach everyone to look ahead at least three years. You should be able to put a strategy in place that addresses needs [and] manages your information access [and] protection for at least three years.

Without a strategy in place for that, then you're in total reaction mode. Bad things happen when you're in total reaction mode, and that's when you need to start hopefully polishing up your resume because you may not be able to keep ahead.

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