To make better use of storage resources, organizations can leverage storage management technologies. Storage resource management (SRM), for example, enables IT to navigate the storage environment and identify old or non-critical data that can be moved to less expensive storage. These tools can also be used to predict future capacity requirements.
Managing storage without an SRM tool is like going on a journey without a map. Having a clear plan and objective before taking action is the best assurance of rapid progress and success. Storage managers should ask some questions before cost-cutting:
What is the average utilization rate?
What is the utilization rate by application?
Which applications are growing fastest? Slowest?
SRM technology can help companies make an assessment and provide an enterprise-wide view of the storage environment, which helps identify problem areas, consolidation opportunities, and to create a priority list of solutions.
In addition, thin provisioning can be used to improve storage capacity utilization. These tools allow space to be easily allocated to servers on a just-enough and just-in-time basis. Thin provisioning can enable higher capacity utilization by allowing applications to share a pool of available storage that reduces the amount needed for any individual application. Storage is allocated to applications dynamically as needed, resulting in higher utilization.
Thin provisioning also eliminates the guesswork in new application provisioning because rapidly-growing applications can access space as needed, while low-growth applications will not hoard empty space.
Furthermore, thin provisioning can reduce capital expenses because it requires less up-front storage than a “stove pipe” environment and permits “just in time” storage allocation.