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Users come to grips with tiered storage

Getting tiered storage right will be a major theme for many users this year, according to our Storage Outlook '06 series.

After a year of unprecedented storage growth, users are realizing that the traditional method of managing storage by adding more hardware just isn't cutting it anymore. The only way storage administrators are going to survive, they told us, is if they find ways to consolidate and make their storage work more intelligently.

"Part of the challenge is really forcing yourself to step back and re-evaluate what you're trying to do and how you're trying to do it," said Schenck Business Solutions' chief information officer/chief technology officer James Tarala. "And does that even make sense anymore, given the new features that are available?"

Users had a number of innovative approaches to the problem of data growth, whether consolidating storage servers, implementing higher density systems, adding faster connectivity, automating management, fine tuning a tiered storage system or just trying to maximize utilization on what systems they already had.

The trick, though it may seem paradoxical, is "being able to consolidate at the same time that you are expanding," according to Charles Shepard, lead systems engineer for MGM Mirage in Las Vegas.

Whatever the approach, users say they hope 2006 will be a year of efficiency in storage.

A guide to the Storage Outlook '06 series

Dec. 6: Consolidation rules -- Schenck Business Solutions CIO and CTO James Tarala is looking to pull together a more efficient iSCSI SAN.

Dec. 9: ILM a reality -- Charles Shepard, lead systems engineer for MGM Mirage, says his company will walk a fine line between consolidation and expansion.

Dec 16: High-density tape a priority -- IBM and Sun shop Dartmouth College is looking to update its arrays with higher density boxes and tape backup.

Dec. 20: Tiered storage, the next level -- The Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans to build out its tiered storage environment in 2006.

Dec. 21: Managing growth through automation -- Storage architect says that with staff remaining flat and data continuing to grow, automation of storage services through SRM tools and virtualization will be crucial.

Dec. 23: 'Speed is everything' -- An Air Force backup and recovery specialist says he can't wait to start implementing 4 Gbps Fibre Channel next year.

Dec. 27: Automatic migration between tiers -- Bob Venable of Blue Cross Blue Shield is on the lookout for a content-addressable storage system, among other things, in 2006.

Dec 29: Driving up utilization -- Anne Fisher, storage consultant at British Telecom, is challenged with driving up storage utilization to avoid data center floor space costs.

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