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S3 Ltd

Doing More With Less – Handling storage growth in recessionary times

07/05/09 | in: General

According to International Data Corp’s (IDC) Annual European Storage Survey companies are continuing to invest in growing their storage capacity despite the credit crunch squeezing many IT departments. In the face of continuing data growth almost 20% of respondents named increasing storage capacity as their major spending priority in 2009. Enhancing DR capability was the second highest priority. This compares with indications that spending is likely to be frozen in areas such as PCs and printers.

The report noted that “Storage is the least likely area to be cut. With the kind of data growth that most people are experiencing, it’s just not possible to defer tactical storage spending.” It did, however note some trends designed to optimise what Americans often refer to as ‘bang per buck’. The key trends identified related to the impact of server virtualisation on the storage infrastructure.

Among these trends was the move to iSCSI in virtualised environments. In server-to-storage interconnects Fibre Channel is still winning out over iSCSI by something like 90/10, but in virtualised environments that drops to 70/30 and the adoption of iSCSI in these environments is growing quickly. This growth tends to be in lower end SAN environments. Their conclusion on the reason for this could not be simpler – “iSCSI is cheaper”. The consequence is that iSCSI is reported to be used in 12% of shipments in to virtualised environments against an overall penetration of 6% of the overall disc array market.

Improving application availability and disaster recovery (29%), as well as minimising the cost of storage (26.5%), are reported to be the key motivators shaping respondents’ decisions about which storage solution to use with virtualised environments.

Our experience matches these findings. A high proportion of our NetApp shipments are not, as might generally be expected, into NAS but into SAN environments using iSCSI. We are also seeing other trends in our customer’s buying patterns.

These include:

  • Strong adoption of de-duplication technology, predominantly through the use of Data Domain de-duplication appliances.
  • A high level of interest in the use of Massive Arrays of Inactive Disc (MAID) to provide large arrays of storage with optimised power consumption. Our leading supplier of this technology is Nexsan.

Thin provisioning to eliminate large areas of unused LUN space.
Intelligent Tiered Storage from Compellent enabling the selection of the most cost effective storage devices based on usage.

If you join us at S3 09XPO at Kempton Park on 25th March you will be able to meet these and other vendors who will be able to help you meet the need to increase your storage capacity in the most cost effective way, not just in straitened financial times but also for the long term.