Sidebar: Thin Provisioning Explained

Sometimes referred to as overprovisioning, allocate-on-write or dedicate-on-write technologies, thin-provisioning options let storage buyers avoid tying up entire pools of capacity immediately.

Instead, IT executives can project the entire amount of storage a department will need in the long term but purchase only the minimal capacity that the unit will consume over a shorter period. Enterprise officials then work with vendors to set thresholds that signal when additional capacity is necessary and implement alarms or notifications that indicate when it's time to add more disks to a particular storage pool.

Storage hogging -- or the tendency among users to overestimate the amount of space a specific business unit or project will consume over a given period of time -- is the No. 1 problem thin provisioning seeks to solve. Second is the storage haggling that ensues when CIOs struggle to avoid buying extra storage upfront while knowing that much of the capacity will remain uselessly stranded within the organization.

Special Report

Storage: New Wrinkles 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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