storage assessment

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Storage capacity planning
Nowadays, storage capacity requirement is growing rapidly. However I don't think that the answer to this demand in storage capacity is to keep adding storage. Rather, a comprehensive storage assessment is required at a certain point in time. This will enable a better decision making in future storage procurements and will give a clear idea about what you have already in hand. The assessment will also help in restructuring the data which in turn could free up or optimise your existing storage for a better performance. The purpose of my post is to know if anybody of you has gone through such exercice and how did it work. I also want to get any information possible to trigger a similar initiative within my environment in order to identify where it is best to invest. Any idea? Any document? Any resource? Any website? Thanking you in advance Ali Kouider
ASKED: November 29, 2005  12:39 AM
UPDATED: October 8, 2008  6:09 PM

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Two words. Research and planning.

What type of data is being stored? For how long? How long is it required to be immediately available?

I suggest stepping outside the issue as it were and looking at it as a whole. By mixing storage media between fixed and removable, including optical, DVD, and DAT tape along with an expandable SAN solution, you can have a very managable long term storage system.

The trap is not just trying to store too much for too long but the overhead of maintaining the storage.

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  • Poppaman
    I agree with what zsr681 said: research and planning are the order of the day. Take a look at what is on your network: how large are the files? How often do the most frequently accessed get accessed? The least frequently? In your current setup, are there volumes which are at or approaching capacity and others with lots of storage "headroom"? Consider a three or four tiered approach (as previously suggested): either DASD (direct attached) or SAN storage (disk based) for frequently accessed "online" files, Disk based (usually SATA) storage for "near line" files, tape for back-up/archival purposes, and possibly NAS for departmental or spot storage requirements. I mention NAS in conjunction with a SAN based solution specifically because some environments have storage requirements which vary by a factor of 10 several times over the course of the year. Provisioning a SAN for maximum capacity (ie: with enough headroom to handle all of the peaks in capacity requirements) will leave lots of unused space for much of the time. Offloading these "peaks" to a NAS box, and moving the data to nearline (or offline) storage when appropriate will in the long run allow you to reduce the SAN capacity to a more realistic level. One last word - If you are starting from scratch and are not locked into a pure vendor's solution (Sun, Microsoft, Red Hat, etc...) look at the Apple SAN offering: X-San along with X-RAID and the X-Serve are a robust and economical way to provision a SAN without breaking the bank (so to speak).
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  • Akouider
    As I can see from your replies, there is nothing called "one size fits all" in this business. Thanks for your input, it gives me a wider view about the amount of effort I need to put in order to get something consistent. It looks like "storage assessment" is the tip of the iceberg. The way I see it is as if I was on a plane and looking at the issue at different level of altitudes. If "storage assessment" is a 10,000ft level view of the information management, "data classification" is a 20,000ft view. If "storage assessment" is done at the IT level of the organization, "data classification" needs to be looked at, at the organization level. Waow!!! Quiet a lot of work ahead :))
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  • Poppaman2
    Me again (slightly different handle)- Yes, there is much in the way of planning and assessment which will need to be completed before the first RFP to your vendor list is sent out. The rewards both in long term lowered costs (direct and indirect) and ease of administration will be well worth the effort in the mid-to long term... PaulR.
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