Storage Management & Virtualization
Everything virtual about it
Ever-rising amounts of data have resulted in CIOs grappling
with issues related to storage management. In 2000, the University of California
conducted a survey, which indicated that by 2003, 85 percent of information
would be stored magnetically. The actual number in 2003 was 95 percent.
With data growing exponentially, the economics of storage management has gained
top priority in organizations. Avers Phil Sargent, Research Director, Gartner
Asia-Pacific, "Every day more storage is being deployed in SAN and NAS.
As storage software mechanisms mature, the importance of utilization will come
to the fore."
No SAN should be an island
Until recently, nearly all SANs in the enterprise had to be built using the
storage platform supplied by a single vendor. Explains Harish Krishnamurthy,
Director Marketing, Asia Pacific, pSeries, IBM, "In large organizations
this has resulted in many different SAN islands being created, with each department
using its own set of tools, often by its own support team.
When you look at this trend, storage management is likely to be very much in
demand as organizations seek to employ tiered storage systems and information
or data lifecycle management (ILM/DLM) techniques to run applications and host
data on systems that match the business value of those systems."
Where does storage virtualisation stand as of now? Opines Sargent, "Storage
virtualisation is at the peak of the hype cycle, but one needs to realise that
it is a valuable technique. For storage virtualisation to be effective, it has
to be implemented at multiple levels."
Companies are trying to develop management software that can tap into any kind
of hardware from any vendor and customise itself. This generally entails creating
software that divides servers and storage systems into fine partitions, and
then layering management software on top of these boxes.
The costs associated with storage have to be managed. Says
Sargent, "If a CIO is quizzed on the amount of storage that is actually
used, he will be dumbfounded to know that a huge amount of storage goes waste
due to faulty storage management."
A suggestion to overcome this problem is to follow a tiered
storage model. Says Krishnamurthy of IBM, "Another way is to look at the
convergence of storage servers, wherein two storage systems within a single
array are used, thereby reducing the price per megabyte."
What aspects should a CIO look at in the future to leverage existing storage
infrastructure? Advises Sargent, "Companies should look at creating an
extensible storage network topology, and also look at adopting an ILM strategy
to suit their needs. Security aspects need to be minutely looked into in today's
storage environment. The myth that storage is associated with backup is a misnomer."