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Gaining maximum value from information and data

Friday, July 13, 2007

 

  • Mid-sized organisations face many of the same storage problems of large organisations
    Storage volumes continue to grow at a rapid rate, and mid-sized organisations need to be able to meet this growth in a fully manageable manner.  Existing heterogeneous storage approaches with a mix of direct attached storage (DAS) and shared folders on servers do not provide the flexibility and opportunities required for ongoing market competitiveness.
  • Storage management needs are similar for mid-sized and large organisations
    Business continuity, disaster recovery, and data archiving are all major issues that mid-sized organisations have to deal with.  With existing storage being spread across a range of different data silos, it is difficult to respond rapidly to data loss; and the impact of data loss or non-compliance with information governance requirements can be catastrophic to a mid-sized organisation.
  • Storage area networks (SANs) are the optimum solution for managing such needs
    SAN technology has been proven as a strategic solution in large organisations, and a SAN approach offers several advantages to mid-sized organisations.  The abstraction of the storage layer means that response times are more predictable and upgrading storage is more flexible and does not impact the running of the business.
  • High-end SAN skills are at a premium
    SANs based on Fibre Channel (FC) technology require specific skills for implementation and ongoing maintenance.  These skills are not easily available within the mid-market, and a perception of complexity and high cost has grown up around the usage of SANs outside of the largest organisations.
  • IP-based SAN storage brings SAN capability within the reach of the mid-market
    By utilising standard Ethernet-based technology, IP-based SANs lower the skills requirement for the implementation and running of SANs, making them a prime solution for the mid-market.   Bringing high-end SAN functionality into the reach of the mid-market yields direct business value through higher storage utilisation rates, less downtime, greater storage flexibility and the capacity to report across multiple data stores in an easier manner.
  • Virtualisation provides functionality for flexibility
    The capability to create a single virtual view of all storage assets, combined with the capability to use logical partitions to provide flexible “buckets” of storage for applications, provides high levels of flexibility for organisations.

Conclusions
SANs help to create a highly flexible storage solution that provides a high degree of future-proofing for an organisation’s storage needs.  However, existing perceptions of complexity and high cost have historically relegated SAN technology to only a few companies with large IT budgets in the mid-market.  The advent of IP-based SAN technologies and the combination of standard Ethernet-based SAN connectivity with the decreasing cost of storage components now provide mid-sized organisations with the capability to easily enter the SAN world.  For those who choose a solution complete with management tooling around virtualisation, partitioning, provisioning, backup/restore and so forth, IP-based SANs will provide immediate business value and higher levels of efficiencies and effectiveness in their market.