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Get Your Storage for Nothing and Your Bits for Free

Dire StraitsWell . . . maybe not quite “for nothing” or “for free”, like Mark Knopfler sang in the popular Dire Straits song from the 80’s, but you can delay your storage CAPEX spending and flat line your OPEX spending for the next couple of years by making use of Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning (HDP) and the Storage Reclamation Service from HDS.

The benefits of consolidated storage promised by SAN technologies have never been fully realized.  On the positive side, a migration from direct attached storage to SAN technologies has centralized the management of storage and provided some level of efficiency in space utilization.  However, inflexible storage systems, operating systems, and file systems have caused unanticipated practices that have introduced new storage inefficiencies.  These new inefficiencies are not unlike the old physical stovepipes of unused storage created by storage directly connected to hosts.  Even though you have a consolidated SAN, logical stovepipes of storage have emerged due to over estimating storage requirements for future growth and then not being able to reclaim that storage when the application doesn’t use it all because the file system and volume can’t easily be shrunk.

HDP, along with its Thin Provisioning and Zero Page Reclaim capabilities, can actually reclaim the unused storage by virtualizing the application’s volume into a storage pool with HDP and then using Zero Page Reclaim to free up allocated but unused data pages that contain only zeros.  The resulting smaller volume is now thin-provisioned from the hardware point of view but looks to the application as if it is still the size of the original volume.  HDP is available on the HDS USP V, USP VM, and AMS2000 storage lines.

And you don’t even have to have HDS storage – HDP and the Storage Reclamation service are effective in reclaiming unused storage on EMC and other manufacturer’s hardware through the temporary use of a Hitachi USP VM diskless rack-mounted unit and virtualizing the external non-HDS storage with Universal Volume Manager.

Now back to that “storage for nothing” thing.  Assuming Gartner’s 2007 analysis of Fiber Attached Storage being utilized at a rate of between 45% and 65% still holds true, there is a lot of stranded storage out there to be reclaimed.  For example, if you are currently at 50% utilization of your allocated storage and HDP boosts utilization up to 80%, you literally would be getting 30% of your “storage for nothing”.  Hitachi has seen increases in utilization by more then 30% for many customers with some companies reclaiming 40% or more of their physical storage.

In a recession economy, organizations are looking to leverage current investments and increase ROA (return on assets) rather than make new investments.  “Based on end-user inquiry, Gartner has observed that most storage infrastructure is managed inefficiently.  By improving storage utilization, IT departments can delay incremental storage acquisitions.”*  This is where the Storage Reclamation Service comes in to free up your stranded storage, increase your ROA, and enable you to delay additional capital purchases.

To learn more about Hitachi’s Storage Reclamation Service using HDP, click on the link below and check out the various white papers and success stories, or call Unitiv and let us help you delay CAPEX and reduce OPEX by making your storage environment more efficient with HDP.  All you need to do now is be like Sting and sing “I want my, I want my, I want my HDP”.

*Source: Invest in Storage Professional Services, Not More Hardware, Adam W. Couture, Gartner, Inc., February 2009, ID#: G00165133

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.