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Top 10 enterprise data storage tips of 2009

Our top 10 enterprise data storage tips of 2009 cover easy-to-use SANs, capacity management tools, SSDs, storage encryption technologies, cloud storage and more.

Data storage managers need to know how to properly deploy, troubleshoot and use enterprise data storage technologies in their data center to get the most value from their investment.

Here at, we provide our readers with a new technology-specific tip for networked data storage and data storage management each week. We've compiled our top 10 enterprise data storage tips of 2009 below, but please bookmark our data storage tips page to stay current with all of the enterprise data storage tips coming in 2010.

The value of easy-to-use SAN storage
Storage-area network (SAN) technology is in a period of major change -- it's getting much easier. For years, SAN storage has required extensive knowledge about logical unit numbers (LUNs), LUN masking, volume sizing, volume concatenation, scripting, RAID set calculation, capacity planning and more. This tip breaks down some easy-to-use SAN options and why it makes sense for storage pros to consider them in tight economic times, despite some of their drawbacks.

Pros and cons of storage capacity management tools
Storage capacity management tools are often hyped as panaceas that will resolve all storage utilization problems. While there is a lot of truth to those claims, these tools are not a total panacea because they fundamentally do not and cannot completely resolve all storage capacity utilization issues. To understand what storage capacity management tools can and cannot do, this tip examines the operational problems they attempt to solve and where they often fall short.

Wide stripe before you dive into SSD
Before plunging into solid-state drive (SSD) technologies to improve storage I/O performance, storage managers should take a closer look at physical disk technologies. One of the processes existing vendors provide is called wide striping, a technology that is often made available in storage subsystems such as those provided 3PAR, Compellent and other next-generation arrays. This tip examines the benefits of striping and takes a closer look at developing an SSD strategy as a whole.

Pros and cons of using NAS NFS with VMware
Network-attached storage (NAS) is incredibly simple networked storage. It's ease of use for implementations, operations and management is well documented and analogous to VMware Inc.'s VMware ESX. This makes NAS an excellent candidate for use as ESX's networked storage, with the added caveat that NAS with ESX requires the network file system (NFS) protocol. This tip examines the pros and cons of using NAS NFS with VMware and why we aren't seeing enough of this technology in virtual environments.

Is cloud data storage right for your IT infrastructure?
Cloud data storage is becoming an increasingly appealing option for many IT infrastructures. However, because cloud storage is relatively new, most enterprise data storage managers are unsure of what questions to ask potential service providers to determine how storage clouds will impact their environment. This tip examines five questions storage managers should ask when considering cloud data storage.

SAN storage consolidation checklist
Consolidating storage-area network storage should result in less hands-on management; fewer data migrations; reduced cables, rack space and floor space; less power and cooling; and a lower total cost of ownership. However, SAN consolidation projects require clear and thorough guidance to see real-world benefits. This tip provides the critical questions to answer and plan for when considering a consolidated SAN storage project.

Storage encryption essentials
The assumption that firewalls, file permissions and passwords provide enough security without the additional overhead of storage encryption is no longer true. There are plenty of opportunities for secure storage systems to be compromised by forces both outside and inside your organization. SANs, NAS and direct-attached storage (DAS) systems are goldmines of information waiting to be exploited. This tip will help you identify weaknesses in your system, and then help you choose the storage encryption product that matches your network configuration and specific risks.

Archiving data to cloud storage: How to choose the right provider
Today's economy is forcing many storage administrators to re-evaluate their storage processes and identify more cost-effective approaches to data storage. Archiving data to value tiers of storage, such as storage clouds, is now being viewed as a desirable alternative to traditional storage systems. But before you begin archiving data to the cloud, check out this tip for five questions to ask to ensure that the cloud storage provider you choose will meet your business needs.

Green storage best practices control costs, increase energy efficiency
By implementing and practicing best practices for green data storage, businesses can use a mixture of these tactics and storage technologies to control data center power and cooling costs and increase their storage energy efficiency. This tip provides eight green storage best practices, including avoiding overspending and overprovisioning, revisiting your tiered storage strategy and RAID policies, considering technology such as SSDs and massive array of idle disks (MAID), and more.

Addressing storage performance bottlenecks in enterprise data storage
There are many potential locations for storage performance bottlenecks, including applications, email, file, and Web or database servers in the I/O data path. A key point in addressing bottlenecks is gaining insight into what and where the issue is, and then aligning appropriate remedies. However, you must then avoid accidentally moving or masking the problem to another location. This tip takes a look at server performance, I/O path and network, and storage system and device bottlenecks and provides some methods for troubleshooting them.

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