Consolidating Data

DQC Bureau
New Update

Information is critical to the success of every kind of business today, and

the rate at which information is being generated is increasing exponen­tially.

However, data is of no value to the business when it is unmanageable and

inaccessible due to its size. Business infor­mation must be readily available

for users. The main challenge for any enterprise is the proper utility and

management of existing storage resources. In such a scenario, storage

consoli­dation is the best option.


Storage consolidation is all about building storage infrastructures that meet

the demands of information-rich business environment. It is the concept of

centralizing and sharing storage resources among numerous application servers.

Importance of storage consolidation

The primary reason for enterprises to deploy storage consolidation is to

simplify their current storage infrastructures. “The benefits of consolidation

include improve­ment in efficiency, improvement in storage utilization and

avoiding over-provisioning. So utilization of storage resources, ability to

share and pool resources across different host environments and cost are driving

customers to look at storage consolidation,” said Prakash Krishnamoorthy,

Country Manager-Storage­Works Division, Technology Solutions Group, HP India.

“More than looking for a solution to manage future data growth, the

enter­prises of today would like a solution, which can manage data within the

existing infras­tructure,” said L Sivashankaran, Director-Storage, Sun

Microsystems India.


“The customer puts in lots of emphasis on managing the explosive growth of

data and articulating and providing a solution that would not only cater to the

explosive growth of data by adding new customers or by adding new applications

but which would also make use of the existing infrastructure. The customers

expect vendors to provide long lasting solutions, which are not only

cost-effective but also compact and can be integrated with the existing

infrastructure,” he added.

Rajesh Saha, Country Manager-Enterprise Business, Systems and Technology

Group, IBM India, feels that storage consolidation brings forth unique

advantages of realizing better asset utilization along with better availability.

“With the level of growth that we are experiencing in this region, consolidation

and virtualization platforms provide much desired flexibility to the

infras­tructure,” he added.


Storage architecture

One of the most significant technological advancements in the storage

industry was the introduction of storage area networks (SANs). SANs enable

enterprise storage consolidation by providing high-speed connec­tivity between

hetero­geneous servers and a storage subsystem. SAN connectivity allows many

servers to share capacity residing on a single storage subsystem. Network

attached storage (NAS) consolidation architectures, which share many of the same

benefits provided by SAN, but use standard IP-based communi­cations networks to


file level access to stored information.

“SAN are basically deployed in an organization supporting business

applications such as an ERP or a consolidated mail messaging environment or

while utlizing storage consolidation or storage virtualization. NAS is

predominantly used to aggregate, manage and deliver file system services. In

most environments, the organizations need to provide NAS for their client

environment on their desktop and for deploying business applications, SAN is

utilized. NAS can also be deployed in order to support the NAS function,” said

Krishnamoorthy of HP

According to him, most of the mid-market segment uses the fiber channel-based

SAN and IP SAN is being increasingly adopted among the SME sectors because of

its cost competitiveness.


SAN/NAS convergence storage

One of the issues that companies are facing today is that if they have made

an X terabytes of investment in storage then how can they optimize it without

spending any more money. Anand Naik, Director-Systems Engineering, Symantec

India, said that today more and more customers are adopting SAN to standardize

all new require­ments. “While they are building SAN, Symantec ensures that they

do not need to throw away their existing resources and they can redeploy their

existing resources even if they are from different vendors or different hardware

suppliers. This is called storage capacity management, which comes under the

overall SAN architecture,” Naik explained.

Opportunities for solution providers

Krishnamoorthy of HP feels that solution providers (SPs) can literally walk into
every customer organization and help them consolidate their storage by building

SAN environment,

NAS or deploy one over the other. The SPs can also consoli­date different
applications using two different protocols FC and ISCSI.

However, Surajit Sen of NetApp India feels that it is a storage

consoli­dation project has a far reaching impact on every layer in the

datacenter. “Unless the strategy is aligned to the rest of the data center

layers like applica­tion, networking and servers it may not deliver the promised

value. SPs therefore need to act as consultants and work with the customer on

building a long term datacenter strategy,” Sen opined.


IBM's Saha said that effective storage, consolidation and protection of

mission critical data is of paramount importance in today's marketplace.

“What­ever the economic situation is, customers will still need to purchase

storage technologies to handle the steady growth of data. However, given the

economic slowdown, we believe that acustomers will focus, now more than ever, on

purchasing cost-effective green storage techno­logies and on technologies like

consolidation and virtualization as these can help them success­fully compete in

today's challen­ging market,” Saha averred.

NR Sethuraman