10 More Ways to Save on Storage


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In last month’s story, Top Ten Ways to Trim Storage Costs, we offered up some alternatives to expensive disk arrays and a few tips and technologies that can make storage more cost efficient. Since there are more than 10 ways to skin your storage budget, here are 10 more ways to keep costs down and streamline your storage environment.

Dedupe Again

There are so many ways to deduplicate data these days and more interesting approaches seem to emerge every week. One example is Nexsan DeDupe SG, which is said to cut power usage by 60 percent and storage capacity requirements by more than 30X, according to Victoria Grey, senior vice president of marketing for Nexsan.

“The first generation of deduplication systems focused on saving storage capacity,” she said. “The DeDupe SG delivers 10-30X deduplication rates while being the only power-managed deduplication solution that saves on energy and data center cooling costs between backups.”

Nexsan’s disk-based deduplication solution provides backups at 750MBps via CIFS and NFS and up to 1500MBps with Symantec OST. Performance is given a further boost via a high-speed RAID subsystem. Time savings are achieved by first writing and storing backups on disk cache (deduping at a later time or concurrently) so that backup tasks are completed quicker.

File Servers Begone!

Moosa Matariyeh, an enterprise storage specialist at CDW advises users to ditch their many file servers and switch to NAS appliances, which, he said, are lower cost, easier-to-administer and consume less power.

Data Reduction

If file servers are used, though, there is a way to get more out of them and reduce storage costs. NXPowerLite for File Servers by Neuxpower was designed to shrink bloated Microsoft Office and JPEG files to a fraction of their original size to improve network efficiency, shorten backup windows, and reclaim primary storage resources. Neuxpower optimizes such files, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel files, by removing any excess "baggage" and converting graphics to the most appropriate file format and resolution.

“Most files are reduced by up to 95 percent of their original size, remain in their original format and retain all their original attributes and functionality, so they can be opened and edited by anyone,” said Mike Power, CEO of Neuxpower. “They do not need to be unzipped, decompressed or rehydrated before use, and no special viewing software is required.”

Using the Cloud for Backup

Another dedupe-based product also adds in the element of the cloud to save further on costs. Asigra Cloud Backup uses multiple techniques to optimize backup environments and reduce hardware requirements. First, it identifies duplicate data by looking for the same data queued for backup more than once. All data is compared based on its content, so it does not matter if the files are on different servers or have different names. Common data is stored to the appropriate repository and a pointer/stub is used to point from the data’s original location to the library location. This is a continuous process, as common data can appear at any time. Data reduction happens at the LAN level, and at a global level across all LANs and laptops. Only new/changed data (incremental forever) is transmitted to the backup vault and data compression is also performed to further reduce data under management.

“Understanding that organizations do not value older data the same as younger data, the solution also allows for the backup to be tiered with older data stored on more cost-efficient hardware,” said Ashar Baig, senior director of product marketing at Asigra.

Efficient Migration

SANlogics is a multi-vendor technology platform that deals with data migration and consolidation, and takes the time needed for the procedure from months to days. SANpulse, for instance, recently enabled an enterprise to migrate 257 hosts with 104TB of storage spanning six data centers in two weekend migration windows, said Marie-Pierre Belanger, vice president of product management at SANpulse.

“SANlogics accomplishes this by consolidating and automating internal knowledge and best practices into a versatile framework that includes data collection and correlation, intelligence generation, and actionable output,” she said. “As part of the solution, a business-aware intelligence engine delivers analytic reporting and automation technology that adjusts for constantly evolving SAN infrastructures to speed the process without the risk of errors.”

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