By Matt Crane
By Matt Crane
Today many companies IT budgets are spent on Storage and managing it effectively, just 10 years ago dedicated storage teams were virtually unheard of let alone having a disciplined approach to its expenditure. The reality is that storage is still relatively young when you compare it to other IT technologies, however it’s the fastest growing too. Rather than continuously throwing money at increasing capacity and into the arms of our storage providers let’s look at some effective ways to control the expense and be less wasteful with what we already have spent.
Here are a few areas where we can tackle the most common aspects, by following these we can start to utilise existing storage effectively and not spend quite so much cash on capacity demands:
What vendors will you use and why, is there a good reason for a multi-vendor approach and can you manage that kind of environment easily, how will the storage functions be organised and what are the service levels for now and in the future. Are you using the right tools, people and are they organised properly. Why is your Backup & Recovery a separate function when several of their activities could be merged?
It’s amazing to me when speaking to most UK corporate’s that they are not bothered by using chargeback features in our Storage Manager product. The role of chargeback is to ensure that customers are using their storage allocations in the right way with the right behaviour. I know some IT companies that like to think of chargeback as showing they are more competitive than any outsourced storage route. There’s nothing wrong with that but the foremost reason for chargeback must be accountability, fair usage across an organisation and reflecting a proper representation of the cost of doing business.
Most companies report on the capacity of the storage estate, not many can accurately forecast when more is required or understand where the waste occurs in order to reclaim it. Once a baseline is in place you can set thresholds for applications based on growth rates making sure you're then keeping to strict purchasing practices.
Oh yeah here’s a controversial one, over provisioning scares the bejesus out of most executives and IT managers but if you get it right it’s well worth the cost of implementation. Remember you don’t have to start at some wild wacky over provisioned rate, start at 100% if you like as that may give you some performance benefits. You can always adjust the rate at later dates when you’re surer of the correct subscription levels. Making sure your storage management solution supports thin provisioning is also a sensible way to go as that makes the task of managing/reporting on multiple thin pools easier to bear.
Severe storage I/O bottlenecks have a drastic impact on performance if severe enough it can cause VM’s to freeze, blue screen and crash most of your virtual environment. It’s pretty important you have the tools and experience to identify its causes and resolve them fast. This article written by SolarWinds Storage I/O Bottlenecks in a Virtual Environment covers most of this ground so no need to bang on about it here, promise me you won’t read it on the train with your SolarWinds T-shirt, Coffee mug and bright orange pen on display…(think Joey from Friends with his Porsche!)
I’m going to leave it there, but for your enjoyment here’s a reminder of Joey's Porsche moment......
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