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Please Do Not Feed the SAN

May 26, 2014

Solid state technologies to process work has continued to increase.

According to a recent IBM Announcement we attended, many customers only use about half of their storage yet they continue to buy more. That’s like throwing good food away just before a trip to the supermarket.

We do this because managing the storage (and this goes for all infrastructure) is simply too time consuming. The problem is, after a while, your environment becomes even less manageable; not so much a SAN as inSANity.

Changing things around to make best use of your storage takes time and also brings risks. If you make higher use of a particular storage space it stands to reason that you have to manage it more closely to ensure you don’t run out of capacity.

Storage devices have changed a lot recently, something which must be a relief for those who’ve been spending their waking hours wrangling unwieldy SANs while getting bombarded with data from every direction. IBM’s Announcement talked about Software Defined Storage, which is really about allowing the infrastructure underneath to be abstracted (or hidden) from the systems and applications that use it. For users of Power systems, where the goal was to reduce complexity for programmers, that’s long been a familiar notion.

When you apply these concepts to storage you get a double whammy of less complexity AND better use of the storage you already have – which means you can throw less of your available funding in the direction of storage vendors.

It doesn’t stop there. We saw first-hand storage that was crunched by 70% to 90% thanks to IBM’s SAN Volume Controller real-time compression. The SVC is a really special piece of kit that sits over the top of almost any vendor’s storage to make it more efficient. I’m amazed by this stuff. It’s like Holden releasing a product that makes your Ford go faster.

I’m biased – we sell this stuff – but the things we can do with storage now really helps us work a lot smarter, with a lot less.


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