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Q&A: Aging data centers shifting storage priorities, says HDS CTO

CIOs will hear calls for energy efficiency, better use of virtualization, says Yoshida

By Brian Fonseca
April 2, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Hu Yoshida, vice president and chief technology officer at Hitachi Data Systems Corp., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd., said that rapidly aging data centers are pressuring IT managers to turn to virtualized storage resources and to enable data movement across corporate networks. In a recent interview with Computerworld, Yoshida gave his take on what he called the slower-than-expected spread of virtualization technology into data centers and on the use of hosted storage services.

What can companies do today to better manage the data growth that's outpacing storage capacity? The first thing people can do is consolidation. The second thing is increasing utilization -- with virtualization or the ability to move data where space is. The third is keeping what you use in production and archiving the rest so you're not backing up the same data every time. That's why de-duplication was such a big thing last year. People recognize that backup data can be squeezed. But regulation has put another onus onto retention. It's not just a matter of taking a single instance and storing it away. Now you have to encrypt data at rest.

How are data center storage priorities changing? Data centers are aging. Most cannot support the growing demands of data and storage. Plus, data centers are being redesigned [to become] more energy efficient and reduce carbon requirements. There will likely be some type of EPA rating on data centers that will require rebuilding or remodeling. So there will be a major need to [understand how to] move data nondisruptively and migrate it to new data centers. I think that's going to be a major workload for the next five years.

What skills do storage administrators need to thrive in the future? CIOs have almost pleaded with me to educate their IT people [about how] to move toward virtualization. It's very painful to switch storage systems and migrate data. Virtualization can help them migrate, but [users] are reluctant to learn these new tools. [And] people who have been happy working with block data will have to learn how to handle file storage [because] more unstructured data will be file-based.

Are hosted storage services a viable option for corporate IT executives? Right now, it's more of a low-end play. I don't think enterprises would ever want to give up that control.

Read more about Data Storage in Computerworld's Data Storage Topic Center.

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