Infrastructure Strategies '06
Storage gets networked
Indian CIOs have to deal with massive data stores. Chirasrota
It is a tough job for the IT heads of different enterprises to identify and
purchase the right storage solutions available in the market. With the growth
of Indian banking, financial, telco and ITeS sectors, the market for storage
has grown exponentially. The real value addition to the corporation is the management
of a storage pool, along with automated backup and recovery, and quality of
service. Storage vendors are targeting sectors like telecommunications, financial
services, manufacturing and ultimately the government.
According to the IS 2006 survey, network storage comes fourth as far as the
top IT spending areas of Indian enterprises are concerned. Only 23 percent of
the respondents have mentioned storage as their priority area of IT investment.
Managing Storage Effectively
As the volume and criticality of corporate data grows exponentially, companies
are seeking storage solutions that maximise their capacity, scalability and
flexibility while lowering costs. To meet the growing information needs of the
business, CIOs must find ways to make more data available to more users while
ensuring that it is properly protected.
61 percent of the respondents already
have DAS boxes and 20 percent would like to invest in the year 2006-07.
NAS and SAN have 39 percent and 33 percent presence respectively. The
BFSI segment has seen maximum penetration of DAS (73 percent)
There are many choices, ranging from traditional direct-attached storage (DAS),
which still commands an impressive market lead, to more complex and expensive
network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) products. Network
storage devices are gaining popularity among enterprises because they meet a
growing need for anywhere, any time access to data. As per the survey, 61 percent
of the respondents already have DAS boxes and 20 percent would like to invest
in the year 2006-07. NAS and SAN have 39 percent and 33 percent presence respectively.
The BFSI segment has seen maximum penetration of 73 percent in DAS as per the
survey. Most of the respondents have expressed their intent to invest in network
Organisations are now consolidating and managing the ever-increasing amount
of enterprise data through SANs. Alagu Balaraman, Senior VP, IT and Corporate
Development, Godrej Industries explains, There are impressive technical
and business advantages in consolidating storage with SAN. A SAN infrastructure
enables any connectivity between different servers and storage systems. This
allows more efficient use of storage capacity by consolidating widely distributed
or underutilised disk space onto centralised storage arrays, each of which is
accessible by all servers across the SAN.
Flextronics Software Systems has made a significant portion of its IT investment
in storage last year. It has deployed two SAN boxes in its Gurgaon office and
one in Bangalore. Though Biocon has implemented the storage devices five years
back, it has recently upgraded its SAN boxes.
While the initial cost of a SAN solution may be higher than that of DAS, the
inherent flexibility and scalability of a SAN, together with its reduced management
complexity and cost deliver long-term benefits. SAN can be tailored cost-effectively
to a companys needs. When additional capacity is required, it can be expanded
NAS is designed to separate storage resources from network and application servers
in order to simplify storage management and improve the reliability, performance
and efficiency of the network, thus increasing the overall productivity of the
IP SAN to be the Buzzword
To address the critical issues pertaining to storage management most companies
are turning to network storage technologies from SAN to NAS to IP SAN solutions.
IP SANs that do not use Fibre Channel (FC) but Internet Protocol are going to
be the buzzword across all the verticals. They are looking to these technologies
to help reduce the burden on the server network created by the tremendous increase
in data volumes, while facilitating faster and more reliable access to data.
The IP SAN infrastructure leverages the flexibility and ubiquity of IP network
and Ethernet technology to deliver all the consolidation, scalability and flexibility
benefits of a SAN, at a cost lower than Fibre Channel. The high cost of FC technology
and its need for specialised IT knowledge and skills have generally limited
its use to mission-critical applications for large enterprises.
Companies are looking for solutions that enable them to expand
as their storage requirements grow without affecting the existing systems or
application processes. At the same time, companies are looking to centralise
the management of their storage network and reduce the overall cost of managing
their storage resources. But IP SAN technology has not penetrated much among
the Indian enterprises. It might be because of lack of knowledge in CIOs. Vendors
should create awareness as well as providing appropriate training. Radhakrishnan
Menon, Group Head, Systems, Biocon says, Till now we have not assessed
the technology but as IP SAN has begun to mark its presence in the mainstream
we will definitely think about it. IP SAN is the most cost-effective way
to add servers or workstations to SAN, especially lower-end servers and workstations
where FC is not economically feasible.
Senior VP, IT and Corporate Development
We are spending 20 to 25 percent
of our IT investment on the maintenance and procurement of our storage
devices. We have basic disaster recovery tools but we are planning to
deploy a remote disaster recovery tool very soon. We are in the process
of designing the entire solution.
The increased requirement to keep
data readily accessible and protected for rapid restoration to ensure
business continuance and disaster recovery is a major problem for the
enterprises. The need to make data accessible to users, systems and
applications across the organisation, enabling greater collaboration
and new data-driven capabilities also add fuel to the fire. These are
the burning challenges before Indian CIOs.
LTO technology is the super tape technology
of choice because it delivers a powerful, scaleable,
Head IT and Assistant VP
Flextronics Software Systems
open tape format. It also delivers compatible products from multiple
technology providers offering high capacity, performance and reliability
along with faster-paced innovation, lower prices and true multi-vendor
Storage systems are complex and
highly sophisticated. As of now, skill sets available in the local market
are low, which leads to issues emerging during the initial implementation
of storage solutions. We are planning to invest about 25 percent of
our total IT investment in procurement of different storage devices.
General Manager, IT
The lower cost of IP SAN coupled
with the ROI and its ability to centralise the storage architecture
has helped companies like us to shift from fibre channel to IP. It is
also easy to deploy and manage by leveraging industry standard IP technology,
standards and protocols. It requires only limited staff with no specialised
Low Penetration of Storage Virtualisation
Storage virtualisation, a disruptive storage technology much-debated currently,
addresses the need for more flexible storage infrastructure that adapts to change
more easily than its counterparts. Storage virtualisation software provides
volume virtualisation and other storage services such as data migration and
copying. Storage virtualisation is yet to pick up in India. Most Indian enterprises
are either not using it or are planning to use it at a later stage. As per the
survey, 19 percent of the enterprises have storage virtualisation solutions
and only 11 percent would like to invest in the coming year.
Balaraman says, Storage virtualisation is an interesting area which we
are seriously looking at. Though we have not deployed any kind of storage virtualisation
tool, we are planning to implement it in the coming year.
51 percent of the enterprises are using e-mail archiving solutions and only
15 percent are planning to invest as per the survey. The deployed centralised
SAN boxes at the Godrej office help the organisation to maintain and manage
all the internal as well external e-mail. There is also very low penetration
of ILM among Indian enterprises. It may be due to lack of awareness of the CIOs
or no vendor initiatives. ILM is a logical response for applications where document
control and compliance are required. However, if your organisation also requires
a cost-optimised storage solution, you will need to decide which tiered storage
infrastructure is appropriate.
- 49 percent of respondents are planning to invest
in storage in 2006-07.
- Approximately 60 percent of the enterprises
have already invested in Direct-Attached Storage (DAS).
- Approximately 20 percent of the enterprises
are planning to invest in DAS and Network Attached Storage (NAS).
- Tape drive and disk-to-disk are the two most
preferred secondary storage devices.
- 76 percent of the enterprises have invested
in tape drives and 16 percent would like to invest in the coming year.
- Approximately 73 percent of BFSI units have
DAS in their organisation and 37 percent would like to reinvest.
- 42 percent of the Indian enterprises have disaster
recovery tools and 20 percent would like to invest in the coming year.
Backup and Recovery Need Attention
According to the IS survey, disk-to-disk and tape drive are the most preferred
backup solutions. Though other forms of backup devices like tape libraries and
optical drives are used by enterprises, their penetration is very low. 76 percent
of the companies are using tape drives to backup their entire data. But for
the coming year very few are planning to invest in backup devices. Only 16 percent
of the respondents are planning to invest in tape drives and 7 percent have
expressed their intention to invest in disk-to-disk backup devices.
Says Rajeev Seoni, Head IT and Senior VP, Flextronics Software Systems, We
are still using a tape drive for our backup devices as it is cost-effective
and easy to maintain. But at the same time we are seriously considering investing
in disk-to-disk devices in the next one year.
Choudhury reveals, We are using a disk-to-disk storage backup device as
it delivers some significant time and cost benefits over tape-based solutions
for storage, backup and restore and compliance applications.
SAN provides the infrastructure to implement advanced data protection features
like snapshot and mirroring/replication to enhance backup and recovery and Disaster
Recovery features critical to uptime and business success. 42 percent of the
respondents have already invested in disaster recovery tools but only 20 percent
have plans to invest in the coming year. Balaraman explains, We have basic
disaster recovery tools but we are planning to deploy a remote disaster recovery
tool very soon. We are in the process of designing the entire solution.
Companies like Biocon and Flextronics are using the LTO device to manage their
To meet the demands of todays dynamic marketplace,
organisations need reliable storage systems that can effectively manage and
protect critical business information. A difficult challenge for companies today
is that of cost-effectively managing storage capacity. They must balance their
need to keep pace with growing storage requirements with their need to preserve
their budget. A modular design provides the ideal solution, enabling companies
to start small and add capacity, as required, quickly and inexpensively.
Companies in the telecom sector
are witnessing a huge spurt in subscriber base and hence are expanding
their storage infrastructure rapidly. BFSI is another vertical not to
be ignored by the storage players
There is very low demand for storage devices in the coming
year as per the survey report. Vendors have to target particular verticals for
different kinds of storage devices. Companies in the telecom sector are witnessing
a huge spurt in subscriber base and hence are expanding their storage infrastructure
rapidly. BFSI is another vertical not to be ignored by the storage players.
Companies like Godrej, Flextronics and Eveready have already made larger investments
in the last year as far as storage is concerned. They will only invest in certain
specific areas like disaster recovery tools and backup devices. But still the
vendors have to take steps to create awareness about the latest developments
in the storage market.
Most CIOs are looking at factors like market position, support,
upgradeability and scalability from the vendors while taking a decision to deploy
any devices related to storage. Balaraman opines, The biggest problem
faced by Indian enterprises is that of interoperability or rather the lack of
it. The storage vendors should focus on this issue. They should provide all-round
support to their customers.