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Storage: No longer "just capacity"

Remember the good old days when data storage management was relatively uncomplicated? All you needed were a few disks and tapes. At most, multiple backups of the same data set to ensure redundancy. Well, not any more.

The very definition of data storage has changed over the years. With enterprises automating many of its vital as well as generic processes and providing e-commerce and other online services, the volume of data generated is humongous. And the issue is no longer that of just storing data. It's about making this data available in real-time, something that just disks or tapes can't deliver. Then there are other key issues like data security and disaster recovery that need to be considered to ensure business continuity in case of a disaster.

To sum it up: Storage is no longer about "just capacity." It has become a complex and critical IT asset that must be managed effectively.

The Indian angle

Indian CIOs and CTOs realize the growing importance of storage as a part of their enterprise IT strategy it's become a huge percentage of their overall IT budget. This is substantiated by a recent Gartner study that reveals India has the highest storage utilization rates in Asia at 62.5 percent.

The key issue facing today's CIOs/CTOs is deciding which way to go from the age-old DAS (Direct Attached Storage) to the newer NAS (Network Attached Storage) and SAN (Storage Area Network). The solution you select should be robust, scalable and redundant a system that lets you add or swap storage capacity with zero system downtime. Also, the solution should be interoperable; you should be able to tie it in with your existing legacy mainframe or Unix platforms that are quite prevalent in enterprises. True, most storage alternatives today are open in nature, but it's better to be cautious than regret something later.

This month's cover story acts as a one-stop source for storage. This resource will help you decide on a storage strategy, manage storage effectively, and make the vendor selection and architecture decision easy. There's a "Storage pricing and guideline template" on Page 37 that will enable you compare different storage alternatives and select the appropriate fit.

LIC's WAN/MAN setup

Another thing worth mentioning in this column is LIC's (Life Insurance Corporation of India) extensive WAN/MAN setup. LIC is the largest life insurance company in India with over 2,048 branches. LIC's WAN/MAN network is still evolving and has already seen two phases of development, with the entire setup to be completed in the third phase, sometime this year. By then it will have 1,495 of its branches networked. In "Serving insurance policies on the Net" we explore how LIC has made this initiative work.

Sandeep Ajgaonkar, Assistant Editor

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