Storage Efficiency and Data Center Optimization — Storage Soup Blog by Randy Kerns

By Randy Kerns, Monday, January 30th 2012

Analyst Blogs

Optimizing the data center is a major initiative either in progress or being planned for most IT operations.  Optimization includes using resources more effectively, upgrading or replacing systems that are more efficient and with greater capabilities, consolidating systems using virtualization and advanced technologies.  The goals for optimization are reducing cost and increasing the efficiency of operations.  Cost reductions come from capital cost savings by getting more effective use of what has been purchased and from operational costs by reduction in administration and in the physical resources such space, power, and cooling required.   With optimized operations, Information Technology is more capable of addressing the demands for growth from business expansion or from consolidating IT operations.

Server virtualization and storage efficiency are the major focus areas for Data Center Optimization initiatives because of the opportunity for major savings.  Gains from increasing storage efficiency can yield greater results from investments than from other areas because of the investments required for storing data and the critical nature of data access and protection.  Improvements come from many areas in storage and are measured by IT in a relatively limited way.  The article at https://www.evaluatorgroup.com/document/storage-efficiency-it-perspective/ gives the IT perspective on measuring efficiency.  Components of storage efficiency include:

  • Making greater use of storage capacity using data reduction technologies (compression and deduplication) and allocation of capacity as needed (thin provisioning).
  • Supporting more physical capacity for a storage controller by enabling greater performance from the controller.
  • Increasing performance and responsiveness of a storage system with storage tiering and intelligent caching using solid state technology.
  • Improving data protection with advanced snapshot and replication technologies and data reduction prior to transferring data.
  • Scaling of capacity and performance in equal proportion (scale out) to support greater consolidation and growth.
  • Provide greater automation to minimize administrative requirements.

The big picture of the reason for Data Center Optimization is to be cost effective and enable expansion to meet business needs.  An initiative like Data Center Optimization requires planning and an overall strategy.  Improving storage efficiency is a high value part of that strategy.  This includes operational improvements and employing products with features and capabilities that have greater efficiencies.  Storage has a regular cadence of technology transition and product replacement.  Evaluating the best product to meet the requirements and provide the greatest advantage in the IT environment is part of the execution of the plan.  There are many complex factors to consider and the decisions are not straightforward.

As Data Center Optimization initiatives continue to be undertaken, storage efficiency will continue to be a competitive battleground for vendors and opportunity for customers.

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