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Storage Expert provides Strategic Advice by Witold Kepinski, featuring Randy Kerns

Friday, October 21st 2011

The American storage expert Randy Kerns of the Evaluator Group recently gave a  two-day training in the Netherlands organized by Inframatica Consultants. He gave some advice to IT decision makers and data storage specialists in large organizations, such as Rabobank, ING and KPN. His talk included virtualization, tiered storage, archiving and the strengths and weaknesses of enterprise storage systems.

According to Kerns, virtualization plays an increasingly important role in data storage environments that are associated with virtual servers. Today, more than 50 percent of servers are virtualized, Kerns said. “Server virtualization and desktop virtualization delivers significant cost savings, but the data storage must be adequately connected and used. That should already be planned during the project. There are specific solutions for the deployment of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). For example the use of solid-state drives (SSDs) for tiered storage, so data quickly searchable. Or use VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (Vaai). Thin provisioning (TP) provides the ability to effectively deal with the available physical data storage. The wide striping techniques, storage and thus the I / O of all files distributed over the available physical disks, may also critical applications are migrated to a virtual environment. In any case, the sequential access to data much faster. ”

Kerns said that VMware also an increasingly important role in the world of data storage. “That’s better integrated with the VMware software, disaster recovery / business continuance (dr / bc) and backup / restore. This allows IT departments to manage their data more easily and efficiently. VMware is a data storage provider. ”

Be careful to use SSD

According to Kerns’s tiered storage with SSD NAND Flash is popular. “Tiered storage or tiered storage, consists generally of a central storage system with multiple types of discs, but sometimes from multiple disk arrays. That little data is used to – or may not be automated – migrated from the primary, fast storage area to the cheaper drives with larger storage capacity. ”

Most companies adjust according to Kerns claim for Tier 0 solid state storage in addition to SAS and SATA drives for the other two or three tiers. “Obviously, a healthy balance be sought between the amount of SSD and hard disk drives (HDD) in a storage system.” Kerns recommends the use of 3 to 5 percent SSD for an optimum price / performance ratio.

Choose at least two data storage vendors

Organizations that use data storage and management can best handle a multi-vendor policy, Kerns said. “This allows them to lower purchasing costs by keeping the strong competition that exists between the leading data storage vendors. The storage costs are an increasing percentage of the total IT budget. When purchasing new technology, the cost perspective is extremely important. Not forgetting that this strategy fits well into the future where more and more data is stored. ”

Kerns advises companies to hire specialists who can help the company further into their storage strategy. “They can help set up a strategy for the long (er) term and advise on the integration with server virtualization environments such as VMware and VDI. We call it for years, but the amount of digitally stored information keeps growing explosively. Without a strategy, management will constantly be unpleasantly surprised by the high expense involved in extensions of the storage park. ”

This document was translated to English, for original Dutch document please click here.

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