Feeds

Prediction: one day you will reduce total storage

You'll run out of space...

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Hardware producers see money in countering power usage. So, for instance, Pillar Data Systems plans to add ‘sleepy' drives to its Axiom disk arrays in the second half of 2007 - SATA disks that will spin slowly when not in use and so save power. They differ from the massive array of idle disks (MAID) products that close the disks right down, which may save more power (dependent on how long is the gap before reuse) but, according to Pillar, shutting right down and fully powering up impacts on drive durability (which means higher replacement costs). These also do nothing to solve the growing storage requirement.

Information classification and policies are the way ahead

Various information lifecycle management (ILM) initiatives have been introduced over recent years. The broad aim of these has been to try and tackle the information value problem while also reducing storage costs. At best they have helped reduce the amount of information held on the most costly tier one disk storage and thereby improved the speed of retrieving the rest while reducing overall running costs to some extent.

ILM is an overused and often misused term. It is a goal, not a single solution. However, there is one core feature gradually emerging and being built into more and more products. It is: automating the information classification process, which means in practice attaching metadata to each piece of information to tell the system what it is, or contains. This overlaps with the work carried out by content management systems (ECM and ICM).

From this metadata, a storage management system can apply corporate policies captured in a policy engine to automate information movement between tiers of storage - and especially to move data out to off-line storage and ultimately destroy it safely and much more quickly. Only by building up - gradually - to applying such techniques across the enterprise will total storage capacity ultimately be contained.

Some of this work is in its infancy and, so far, there are no information classification or taxonomy standards that any products adhere to. Yet products are moving in this direction. (Bloor's recent paper on ILM provides a full description of the current status of the ILM market, some of the initiatives in progress, and what companies should be doing to get a handle on the information they already have.)

Last week's release of Symantec's Enterprise Vault 7.0 is a case in point. This product, designed to manage e-mail storage - and now covering other information types including instant messaging - includes classification and a policy engine for the first time. Broadly speaking, this approach needs to extend to all types of storage information.

What is often forgotten is that, however much information can be retrieved, there is in any case a limit to a business's capacity to make use of it. The way forward is to tackle head-on the information you have now as well as the new information arriving daily, to hone it down to a slim-line storage pool which only carries data that is absolutely necessary - and making the most valuable information the easiest to retrieve.

Achieving that will variously reduce the costs for power, equipment upgrades, software, management time, maintenance and so on, while also improving performance and the business value of the information.

Common sense says a small investment now is likely to produce a long-term ROI. In any case, sooner or later you will have no choice. Unless you turn the tide and reduce your total storage, your enterprise systems will collapse under the storage burden.

Copyright © 2007, IT-Analysis.com

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
A beheading in EMC's ViPR lair? Software's big cheese to advise CEO
Changes amid rivalry in the storage snake pit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.