Application Optimized Storage

By | August 15, 2005

According to Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Storage Index survey, a growing majority (55 percent) of IT directors now rate storage management as their single most important investment. However, when assessing the efficiency of these storage solutions, many companies make the fundamental mistake of measuring technological performance rather than how their storage investment will contribute to overall business performance.

This problem is exacerbated by vendors too eager to push technology rather than a business solution.

All too often, traditional methods of measuring storage efficiency – and by implication influencing purchasing decisions – ignore the critical needs of the modern information centric business and this is having an impact not just on budgets but more crucially on overall business performance.

The typical approach to measuring storage efficiency – number of terabytes managed per administrator – assumes a direct correlation between the number of terabytes consumed by an application and both the criticality of that application and the complexity involved in supporting it. This assumption is fundamentally flawed.

For example, a critical messaging application will consume fewer terabytes of storage than a less-critical, low-access data mining application. However, it will require continuous high-quality support. Using the above formula, the terabyte-per-administrator methodology fails to take into account any of this scenarios. The storage solution deployed may be horrendously inefficient but as long as the terabyte-per-administrator ratio looks good, it will go unnoticed until something falls over.

Using this approach to measure storage management effectiveness simply diverts attention away from the real business issues of supporting the users of critical applications and complying with business policies. As a result, IT administrators can become dangerously exposed, with too few resources and too little time to manage too much critical data.

These shortcomings are exacerbated by the emergence of tougher regulatory requirements, with compliance officers and board-level executives taking a growing interest in storage-related matters. Organisations are increasingly focused on a number of critical issues, including corporate governance, risk preparedness, business continuity, operational efficiency and generating business value for all of their stakeholders. To successfully address these issues, organisations must create a closer alignment between IT resources (people, processes and infrastructure) and corporate objectives.

Storage is playing a key role in this alignment and Hitachi Data Systems is pioneering a new approach to storage management, one that expands on the benefits afforded by virtualisation and delivers tangible ROI back into the business.

Application Optimized Storage picks up the baton dropped by Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). At present, when most storage suppliers mention ILM they refer to the migration of data across tiers of storage, presenting the process as a linear, uni-directional movement from fast attributes of data.

In the real world, the storage attributes associated with each application and each business use of data vary over multiple dimensions. Price and performance are two, but certain applications also require varying levels of availability, security, privacy, and data authentication. Organisations need to manage the migration of data as the access pattern changes. They also need to manage the replication of data, providing information access to applications that may require substantially different data management attributes. This multi-dimensional, tiered, heterogeneous storage environment is key to enabling organisations to realise the value of their information assets.

Application Optimized Storage delivers this intelligence and flexibility. It provides organisations with the tools to manage and optimise all their application storage requirements within a universal storage platform that provides common storage and data services across heterogeneous environments. It ensures data is stored at its most efficient level – both physically (for day to day working procedures) and financially – and transforms storage investment from a non-contributory IT spend into a key contributor to business effectiveness.

Storage can no longer sit in the corner, it has to work for a living, Application Optimized Storage is changing the way organisations look at their storage investment and Hitachi Data Systems is leading the industry in providing storage solutions that align themselves with key business issues.

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