Monday, February 02, 2009

Great options still available

Over the past week I have spoken to some storage administrator friends who manage great islands of storage. And while they still have excess capacity on their heads and can redeploy storage in different ways, they have been told to curtail their new raw storage equipment purchases. Putting storage purchases off can work for a little while because most of the time customers buy more storage than they actually need at time of procurement. But eventually, more media will have to be purchased. Maximizing the capacity and utility of the heads works well for many of our customers because the majority of storage is only accessed occasionally, so by redeploying storage to older heads, probably will not noticeably change data access speeds for end users.

History has shown that storage media prices go down over time, so buying storage as you need it really makes a lot of sense for many customers, and this section of our business has been growing lately. Folks are recognizing that maximizing heads with storage is a great idea when budgets are tight. But perhaps the harder economic climate is also teaching people to think creatively about their storage purchases and usage.

A study last year raises some interesting questions, and may explain why many of our FAS980 customers are currently maximizing the capacity of these older systems.


During the three-month period that the network was under scrutiny, more than 90 percent of the material on the servers was never accessed. The researchers captured packets encoded using the Common Internet File System protocol, which Microsoft Windows applications use to save data via a network. About 1.5T of data was transferred.


.....
Statistically speaking, most data on enterprise networks rarely gets accessed after it is written to network storage, according to researchers from NetApp Inc. and the University of California. Evidently, we are too busy writing new data to go back over old data.

Andrew Leung, a computer science researcher at the University of California, presented the findings at the USENIX conference in Boston last week. Given those results, organizations might want to consider moving much of their data to slower but less expensive storage units since it rarely gets accessed, he said."

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