10 Tips for Reducing Storage TCO
by Yuval Zohar - Director of Product Management, StoreAge Networking Technologies - Monday, 7 August 2006.
Storage virtualization solutions enable the creation of logical “storage pools” that can be expanded dynamically by adding more physical storage, and creating logical volumes from the storage pools. Those logical volumes are like any other volume to the application but can be easily expanded by the virtualization software. The result is that an organization can buy just the storage it needs, expand volumes on demand and add physical storage only when needed. The cost of storage is lower, since organizations buy only what is required at each point in time and a very low amount of storage remains unused.

4. Implement Central Storage Management

Today, many software applications are used to manage storage. In some cases one vendor offers a few software applications – each for different purposes (e.g., one for snapshots and one for mirroring), not to mention software applications from different vendors. Implementing such applications requires some level of training and knowledge resulting in higher cost of maintenance. By selecting storage management software that can provide centralized management for all storage devices and services an organization can significantly reduce maintenance costs.

5. Use Low-Capacity Snapshots to Protect Against Logical Failures

Market research shows that 93% of failures are logical. Among logical failures we count virus attacks, corrupt file systems, or accidental file deletion by users. Recovering from logical failures using tapes is a long and exhausting process. Tapes must be ordered from the remote vault. Data extraction is time consuming. Finally, if the data cannot be found or is damaged, the process has to be repeated using a different set of tapes.

By using low-capacity snapshots, recovery from logical failures can be done in a few minutes - by either mounting a recovery server to a snapshot in the case of data loss or by rolling back the volume and remounting to a snapshot in the case of damage to the entire volume.

Low capacity snapshots consume very little storage space (an average of 5% of volume size per day). Therefore, the cost of implementation is minimal, while the saving of recovery resources is huge.

6. Instant Volume Replication and Low- Capacity Snapshots for Application Testing

Many organizations develop applications. In most cases, development teams need real data for development and testing purposes. Replicating a volume may take a long time until the entire data set is copied. Sometimes, several teams need the data for independent tests simultaneously, resulting in multiple replications using a substantial amount of storage space.

There are a few software vendors that provide an “instant copy” option, in which copies are ready for use within seconds, and the data is then copied in the background. In addition, there are low-capacity snapshot solutions that enable us to simultaneously assign the same snapshot to multiple servers for independent read and write purposes.

Using instant physical copies in conjunction with the above low-capacity snapshot solution enables the fast creation of a replication and the assignment of snapshots in parallel to multiple servers, each may be used by different testers or developers for independent purposes. Using this solution, developer’s time is saved as well as a significant amount of storage space.

If a test fails, the tester or developer would typically like to run another test on the same data for debugging purposes. With this solution, there is no problem re-assigning a new snapshot with the replicated data.

7. Cost-Effective Disaster Recovery Site

Disaster recovery solutions are usually very expensive. The most trivial solution requires a mirrored site with the same equipment as the original site, connected via fiber channel lines and its data synchronously mirrored to the remote site.


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