Storage Management Essentials for Business
Storage capacity requirements are growing at an explosive rate, complicating data and storage management in mission-critical and compliance-driven environments. Enterprises need to securely store more information and more information types. Data must be safely secured and available for rapid recovery in the near term, while also meeting long-term archival and compliance regulations. These complex issues have created a variety of manageability, storage availability and price performance challenges, ranging from missed service levels to operational risks.
Recent industry trend reports by analysts show that the IT budgets are growing at six percent a year; but data under management is growing between 50 and 70 percent or more. Keeping up with data growth while reducing the cost of data management, requires deep analysis and an understanding of underlying storage delivery infrastructure.
To ensure the financial benefits associated with storage consolidation and data management initiatives, CIOs and storage managers need to collaborate with line of business (LOB) management. That collaboration should begin with development of storage cost management baselines for the enterprise to identify and measure the parameters such as by LOB, by Geographical locations, by Tiers (critical, operations, archival, disaster recovery, etc.), by Vendors, by Storage Attachment (SAN, NAS, DAS, RAID Levels etc.), by Data Classification / File types (structured, unstructured and semi-structured), by Network Storage Devices etc.
Companies today are aware of the high costs associated with managing stored data and keeping this data available to business-critical applications. These management costs are escalating at a time when corporate IT organizations are looking at streamlining the operations to ensure that their significant infrastructure investments are leading to increase in productivity and profitability, and manage more infrastructure resources with fewer numbers of personnel.
Highly centralized data centers serving the needs of both, internal departments and external customers, are now regarded as the path to address these problems by centralizing procurement and administration of complex systems. These data centers inherently contain a massive amount of storage and a heterogeneous set of server platforms suited to the needs of each application or department.
In the recent past storage management tools have been compared on equal footing with the point tools provided by hardware vendors. These hardware management tools typically did one or two things well, but had to be used with other point tools on other hardware to perform a storage management function. Changing storage demands require an agile, adaptive infrastructure environment to reduce complexity and stay ahead of change. By adapting flexibly to changing requirements, businesses can better manage risk, increase performance, reduce costs and derive better IT value to the business.

- Mandar Bhide, senior product manager