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Runaway capacity headache

Microscope contributor

 

by Paul Kunert

 

The continued growth of storage installations in mid-sized organisations is a time bomb set to explode in the near future unless businesses consolidate infrastructures to drive efficiencies.

 

This was the prognosis of IDC after research revealed each external disk array retired in 2007 across Western Europe – because of end of life or expired warranty support – was replaced by four.

 

For every 236 petabytes removed from the market, 1,000 were shipped, said Eric Sheppard, IDC European programme manager for storage research. The 4:1 ratio will continue through to 2009, he added.

 

"The way that many organisations measure the health of their storage systems is, ‘do I have enough?’ They don’t buy smartly, they just buy more… sooner or later they will hit a pain point," he said.

 

Many of Europe’s larger companies had addressed infrastructure inefficiencies for some time using shared or networked storage, said IDC, but these were outnumbered by mid-sized businesses.

 

Potential remedies to the management and cost issues of spiralling storage included thin provisioning and deduplication, said Sheppard, but there was little evidence they would help to significantly reduce the 4:1 ratio in the next two years.

 

By compressing data, deduplication increases capacity 25 times, said Chris James, EMEA marketing director at Overland Storage, but it needed to be promoted by the channel.

 

"There will be the early adopter companies but the rest will sit to evaluate the technology… it’s all about changing people’s buying habits," he said.

 

Thin provisioning and deduplication were tools to reduce primary storage said Union Solutions sales director Rick Russ, but businesses still wanted to replicate data and that required additional capacity.

 

He added some customers were reticent to put critical applications in a virtualised environment: "They may want to dedicate certain hardware to an application to guarantee performance."


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