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19 Techniques to Control the Chaos in Data Storage

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“It’s now de rigueur to embrace storage products that enable you to use a simple Ethernet network and thereby greatly reduce the complexity of storage in the data center (dubbed ‘fibre channel over Ethernet,’ or FCOE – a de facto standard),” said Stern. “By reducing your spend on fibre channel switches and interface boards, you can invest in additional storage capacity, which is where the action really should be.”  

14: Manage data not storage

"Traditional enterprise storage technologies have been large dark containers that perpetuate the problem of data hoarding, which leads to extreme waste in IT and data center resources,” said Jeff Cobb (@Qumulo), VP of product management, Qumulo.

“The key,” said Ahmed El-Shimi (@aelshimi), CEO, Minima, “is to shift focus from managing storage to managing data.”

“What is required is a storage platform that can provide storage for the different classes of applications and place data among multiple media types such that the right data sits on the right underlying media,” explained Jacob Cherian (@JacCherian), VP, product management and product strategy, Reduxio.

“Technologies such as auto-tiering features on SANs can migrate the data based on the applications’ need for resources. Designing the SAN to support SSD, SAS, and SATA drives will provide a rich performance environment to support all application requirements while reducing complexity,” said Brad McCain (@Carousel_Ind), sr. director, data solutions, Carousel Industries.

“As the files get used less and less they are moved to normal spinning disks, which can be bigger and are cheaper,” added Asaf Darash (@Regpack), CEO and founder, Regpack. “This method has allowed us to have terabits of data and pay 35 percent less on storage.”

15: Get the data on your data for better storage decisions

“It is impossible to permanently solve your storage performance challenges if you don’t have a good understanding of what is causing them, and if you don’t have a handle on how they will change over time,” said Poojan Kumar (@poojan), co-founder and CEO, PernixData. “With infrastructure analytics, you can accurately understand constantly changing workloads, and get unprecedented visibility into VM and storage behavior to make intelligent (i.e. ‘data-driven’) design and management decisions.”

“By predicting response times with the help of highly realistic simulations, the data will help you make the most cost-effective purchase and deployment decisions for each workload,” said Len Rosenthal (@virtual_inst), CMO, Virtual Instruments

One of PernixData’s customers, GKL Marketing, used infrastructure analytics to avoid purchasing expensive hardware they didn’t need, saving them $250,000, said Kumar.

Similarly, GoDaddy, a Virtual Instruments client, used storage performance analytics to increase performance capacity over 100 percent while cutting storage costs by 65 percent, said Rosenthal.

16: One tool to monitor all storage 

“In today’s data center, almost all businesses have multiple storage devices from different vendors,” explained James Honey (@james_honey), sr. product marketing manager, storage, SolarWinds.

All these varied storage platforms with their unique monitoring tools put amazing pressure on an IT department.

“It can be overwhelming when there is a need for a singular understanding of performance and capacity,” warned Honey. “By having a consolidated monitoring plan, process and solution, IT departments can reduce the complexity they are living in today and truly see higher efficiencies.”

17: You won’t know what works best until you start testing

“One way to identify material gains in storage efficiency is to run proofs of concept using various deduplication and compression scenarios – scheduled at different times and stored in different locations – to determine which new routines are going to most improve storage efficiency without impacting performance and customer experience negatively,” suggested Max Dufour (@maxdufour), partner, Harmeda.

18: Object storage for resiliency and flexibility

“Object storage increases storage efficiency through the use of erasure coding, which is designed to handle disk, server, and site failures in a manner that is simple to implement and requires less overhead than separately configuring RAID, high-availability (HA) failover, and mirroring used by traditional NAS arrays,” argued Jeff Tabor (@AvereSystems), sr. director of product management and marketing, Avere Systems.

“Object storage manages all constraints and balances the cluster automatically, allowing nodes to be added as needed. This has removed single points of failure and bottlenecks previously associated with SAN or NFS solutions,” said Daniel Arthursson (@CloudMe_com), Founder and CEO, CloudMe. “It also allows us almost infinite scalability.”

19: For the security and safety of your data, consolidate.

“Storage environments have proliferated in the enterprise like a bundle of bandicoots. Certainly, bothering with several different management consoles is annoying, but the real exposure is security,” warned Lief Morin (@_keyinfo_), president, Key Information Systems. “The task of managing security amongst many disparate systems becomes like trying to inoculate dozens of different farm animals from a botfly infestation. Each vaccine must be tailored to the specific host and then individually administered.”

More storage systems require more people to manage them, and having more people requires more security.

“The fewer personnel, the more focus can be placed on ensuring the integrity of those folks who manage the storage infrastructure, and the more robust those security controls can be,” Morin said.

Conclusion: Stop just adding and have a plan

Before you make any storage decision, you need to look at your entire system and figure out ultimately what you’re trying to achieve for your business and your customers. What do they need in a moment, in a minute, or in a day? What information do you need to retain and access for regulatory reasons? What’s the minimum information you need to back up, and how fast do you need to restore it to maintain business continuity? Once you have answers to these questions you won’t be focusing so much on storage pros and cons, but rather you’ll be asking yourself how each storage technique supports your business objectives.

“Just as you wouldn’t see an NFL team go into a game without a plan and expect the players to simply react, you shouldn’t leverage features without having a strategy built for their requirements,” advised Matt Sirbu (@softchoice), director of hybrid IT architectures and consulting, Softchoice.

To see how industry leader Hewlett Packard Enterprise is using its engineering innovation to address businesses’ need to consolidate and simplify both primary and backup storage, check out this article series: Reduce Storage Complexity with HPE Storage.

Learn more about HPE data storage solutions.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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