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The total cost of owning and managing storage varies greatly from company to company. IT administrators must weigh a number of factors such as customer needs and business applications when designing and implementing storage environments. An IT department that understands the hidden costs of unmanaged storage will most likely end up with a lower storage TCO.
As storage technologies continue to emerge to meet the demands of mission-critical applications, some IT professionals are asking how organizations can avoid the hidden costs associated with unmanaged storage.
You first have to gain a sound understanding of the business value of your data and what is essential to your business livelihood, says Mark Eastman, product marketing manager at Quantum DLTG. “By understanding what data is critical and by having a solid storage management plan, the threat of being impacted by hidden costs is minimal,” he says.
Jeff Hornung, vice president of business development at Spinnaker Networks, believes that one of the ways companies can avoid the costs of unmanaged storage is by driving toward the best in class IT staffing levels and through better implementation of SAN and NAS.
As obvious as it may seem, the key to avoiding the costs of unmanaged storage is creating and implementing a carefully thought out management strategy, says Jon Greene, director of product management at FalconStor. Companies must address the following questions:
- What resources need to be managed?
- What are the business requirements for data availability, analysis, protection, regulatory compliance, etc.?
Greene believes that by carefully mapping out these requirements, enterprises can determine the appropriate storage topology and management strategy. He also says that the decision is not simply, “Do I implement a SAN or not?” Instead, the decision needs to take into account the type of solutions to be used and must also address the following issues:
- Are the decentralized storage services (virtualization, replication, etc.) at hosts or storage arrays sufficient?
- Will they provide the required control and configuration flexibility, or do I need centralized management and services?
- If I need centralized management, should it be passive (i.e. a storage resource management reporting and planning solution) or active (a SAN storage service solution to provide SAN/NAS provisioning, security, high availability, and data protection/disaster/recovery services)?