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Is storage becoming IT's Hummer?

VMware blamed as storage nears top of leccy guzzle pile

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VMware is set to turn storage administrators into the energy-profligate and hated SUV drivers of the corporate world, a top analyst has claimed.

That's because consolidation will cut servers' share of data centre power consumption and propel storage to pole position in IT's energy greed league, claimed Enterprise Strategy Group founder Steve Duplessie in his keynote presentation to SNW Europe in Frankfurt.

"Currently, electricity use is roughly evenly split between server, storage and networking," he said. "Virtualisation consolidates servers and shifts the magnifying glass onto storage."

In the virtualised data centre of the near future, storage could consume as much as 50 per cent of the total energy budget, with networking gear taking 40 per cent and servers just 10 per cent, he predicted.

He added that in an ESG survey, 54 per cent of IT managers said a move to virtual servers had been followed by an increase in storage capacity per server.

On the plus side, Duplessie said virtual servers will at last kill off internal storage, as you can't use the likes of VMotion to move virtual machines around unless their storage is networked.

"Finally, SAN is better, NAS is better," he said. "And the good news for vendors is it's all going to be brand new, because it doesn't make a lot of sense to repurpose all that old direct-attached storage."

Duplessie added that this seismic shift also gives storage bosses a golden opportunity to properly address the problem of storage capacities doubling and redoubling.

"I contend that the only way to show true value in storage is process change, not technology change," he said.

"You're going to have to go to the business and say that the nature of data has changed - very little now is transaction processing data, it's all fixed content, and while it's still valuable, it's not valuable in the same way and it doesn't need more copying once it's fixed."

Technologies to watch for, when it comes to storing fixed digital content, include dynamic volume management, snapshots, MAID (massive array of idle disks), and de-duplication, he concluded. ®

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