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Managing direct-attached storage

I face a daily battle to recover space on 10 servers, due to the fact that we have no policies or tools to help remove duplicates or data that hasn't been touched in years. We have no limits set and no restrictions in this environment. We are looking at Storage Central to help with some of the administrative reports, but that is all we have in the wing. We're using TreeSize to run daily reports in order to find users with high space usage. Do you have any advice for me?
Thank you for the question. Managing direct-attached storage can be a daunting task, especially when there is no system in place to help understand what is really being stored on the environment in question. I would suggest looking at putting in place quotas and using an SRM package to understand the usage of the storage. Then I would place restrictions on files being placed on the server, specifically looking for files that aren't supposed to be there (MP3, videos, etc. -- unless of course your business requires these files). This is what I would call phase 1 of the process.

Once you have completed phase 1, I would suggest looking at a second phase by gauging the costs involved in keeping...

the storage directly connected to the servers. Plan a migration to an array-based storage subsystem where you can dynamically add storage. For example, if this environment is mostly for file and print sharing then I would like at a Network Attached Storage (NAS) product to help cut down on the management overhead associated with locally attached storage on traditional servers. In addition to the economies of scale that can be realized in moving to array-based storage, one can get the advantage of RAID-protected storage and storage-based data protection capabilities, such as SnapShots and backup capabilities that go far beyond that of locally connected storage.

At the end of phase 2, which may take a year to get rolled out from the time that the process starts, you can look to see if you were able to grow with the demands of the business and continue to tune the environment to the needs of the customer. Don't expect these phases to go smoothly all of the time, as there may be many people in the organization that like things just the way that they are, but moving past these naysayers may enable you to truly master your storage environment.

This was last published in October 2004

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