From stone age to storage
From the neolithic DAS, Indian enterprises have come a long
way with over 50 percent using networked storage. Beyond that, many are taking
advantage of storage architectures such as CAS. by Soutiman Das Gupta
V A Khargonkar, (Middle) Assistant General Manager,
IT, L&T's Heavy Engineering Division, Hazira (Gujarat) with the IT
V A Khargonkar, Assistant General Manager, IT, L&Ts
Heavy Engineering Division (HED) in Hazira (Gujarat) has been a relaxed person
for quite a few months now, and is able to devote more time and attention to
business processes than before.
Our IP SAN solution has helped us manage our growing
storage resources and deliver high data availability
The reason is simple enough. Hes moved out of the stone
age practice of keeping enterprise data on Direct Attached Storage (DAS)
devices, to networked storagean IP SAN to be precise.
Among the companies running multiple enterprise applications
and services such as ERP and business continuity, L&T Hazira is not the
only one to realise that managing disparate information islands and platforms
would be too complex. The Infrastructure Strategies (IS) 2005 survey reports
that more than half the surveyed large enterprises have invested in NAS and
Network that storage
Most respondents have invested in organised network
storage architectures such as SAN and NAS. Some of these are also moving
to more intelligent technologies such as CAS.
With the increasing need for companies to manage
their ERP systems and DR mechanisms, companies have to resort to SAN,
NAS and backup devices.
Among the respondents who have invested in storage infrastructure
in the past, a sizeable 38 percent have deployed SAN, while 29 percent have
See graph: Existing storage infrastructure.
Khargonkar says, Its a natural move for organisations whose businesses
are growing and need to be managed in a more efficient and organised manner.
Our IP SAN solution has helped us manage our growing storage resources and deliver
high data availability.
Telecom is the biggest adopter of SAN (83 percent). For NAS, the services sector
is the prime mover with 44 percent.
The need for the better management of ERP (52 percent) and
Disaster Recovery (DR) processes (41 percent) deployment are the main drivers
when it comes to the adoption of networked storage.
This is explained by the need to smoothen business processes and manage the
extensive content and information generated by ERP systems. Organised
information and content will need to be stored, accessed on a regular basis,
archived for later use, and available even during a disaster. Heres where
networked storage becomes useful, explains Khargonkar.
Chief IT, Pidilite Industries
Zoeb Adenwala, Chief IT, Pidilite Industries, a manufacturing
major, comments, ERP is business-critical for us and DR is necessary for
survival in the near and long run. So its important to have a networked
storage solution in place, as it provides reliable high performance, and gives
us better control over information resources.
Backing it up
Backup devices are essential to my organisation and
they will support our upcoming DR site
Backup devices form a key element of the DR strategy, and
74 percent of respondents have invested in these. The IS surveys of the last
three years have shown that backup infrastructure has been top of a CIOs
mind. We use an automated backup solution, and it is extremely important
for our business, opines Adenwala.
CIO, HDFC Standard Life
Sunil Rawlani, CIO of HDFC Standard Life has digitised his
business workflow, and the organisation uses document management, which means
that tons of images are scanned and digitised, and need to be stored and managed.
These applications are like an ERP for us and need to be running 24x7.
Backup devices are essential to my organisation and they will support our upcoming
DR site, he says.
80 percent of respondents from oil/power and 85 percent from FMCG/retail have
invested in backup devices.
IP storage and CAS
It's important to have a networked storage solution
in place, as it provides reliable high performance, and gives us better
control over information resources
An interesting finding among all companies that had invested
in SAN was that almost an equal number have invested in FC or IP SAN. IP SANs
were preferred by 42 percent, while 46 percent picked FC.
IP SANs that use the Internet Protocol instead of the traditional
Fibre Channel (FC) protocol offer a cost and management advantage. However,
for very high-performance applications, fibre still wins. IP SAN deployments
were rare 24 months ago, and have recently become popular. In certain cases,
the cost of deploying an IP SAN is less than that of an FC SAN, and CIOs have
been quick to recognise that benefit.
7 percent of respondents have decided to give Content Addressable
Storage (CAS) a chance. This architecture allows companies to store, index,
archive and retrieve information according to the classification of the content.
Believes Adenwala, The use of CAS is a vital step forward for companies
who want to simplify their future compliance initiatives.
- 80 percent of companies in the telecom sector have invested in SAN.
44 percent of companies in the services sector have invested in NAS.
- 74 percent of the surveyed companies have invested in backup devices.
- ERP, DR and information security are the three most important drivers
5 percent of the surveyed companies plan to invest in CAS
solutions this fiscal.
Plans to invest
Indian enterprises plan to continue their investments in storage
in the next year. See graph: Planned areas of investment in storage infrastructure.
More companies will invest in networked storage, and many more will keep a mix
of IP and FC SAN.
25 percent of companies plan to go ahead with both technologies
in the next year as opposed to only 12 percent in the installed base.
Companies in the services vertical have the most plans to
invest in CAS in the next year. Investments in storage management software will
not change much.
- Move out from DAS to networked storage
environments such as SAN and NAS.
- IP SAN can be used as an economical alternative
to FC SAN for many applications.
- IP SAN can also be considered as a DR
option for large enterprises using FC SAN.
- Enterprises with a lot of fixed content
(bills, invoices, medical reports) can use CAS for greater efficiency.
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at email@example.com