Wed, Oct
2 New Articles

Four Steps to Improving Storage Utilization

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Without knowing how much storage is being used, where it is used, and who is using it, IT cannot effectively allocate storage resources.


Managing storage resources has never been more challenging or critical. After all, storage is growing at an estimated 60 percent or more annually for the average company, even as storage utilization rates remain at an alarmingly low 30 to 40 percent. At the same time, storage resources are often spread across multiple geographic sites as well as virtual environments, making end-to-end visibility difficult.


Of course, such issues would be far less worrisome if storage budgets expanded in parallel with new storage demands so that organizations could simply buy more hardware and hire more personnel to manage it. Instead, while storage typically represents a quarter of the total IT budget, that 25 percent is increasingly being used to address escalating costs associated with data center space, power and cooling, and the like.


That's not all. Organizations also face a range of operational hurdles as they often use disparate systems and tools, people-intensive processes, and reactive rather than proactive strategies in their efforts to address storage challenges-all while operating in team silos and struggling with misaligned service levels.


With budgets remaining flat, data requirements increasing, and the shortage of skilled individuals to manage storage infrastructures continuing to grow, the need for better storage resource management has become a business priority.


The good news is that by adopting a more software-centric service management framework, organizations can manage their vast storage resources while controlling the associated costs now and in the future.

Know the Environment

Managing the storage environment is virtually impossible without end-to-end visibility of the physical and virtual elements in the environment. Organizations must be able to see all of their storage assets, from fabric to array, as well as host assets, including volume managers, file systems, databases, and applications. End-to-end visibility not only ensures the performance of the data path, but also provides information for storage reclamation.


Having a single view of the full storage stack, from application to spindle, enables organizations to understand application dependencies on infrastructure elements and see changes in near real time. Potential bottlenecks or failure points can be identified, and array-level events that might impact applications can be pinpointed.

Drive Up Utilization

Once IT has an understanding of the storage environment, the organization can then begin to focus on increasing utilization. Many organizations cannot make informed decisions about storage budget expenditures simply because they do not fully understand how storage assets are being used by business applications. To determine how much storage is currently available, then identify any additional storage requirements, and ultimately maximize their storage assets, organizations must have visibility into current and historical disk usage. They must be able to see and measure available resources and storage burn rates in order to provide accurate forecasts for capacity planning and budgeting and to avoid unnecessary storage purchases that might reduce storage utilization levels.


When combined with global business-level reporting capabilities, this data can be used to recognize storage trends across multiple data centers and enable IT to determine storage utilization and capacity growth for storage arrays, storage tiers, and more. In addition, armed with this information, IT can compare storage trends across geographic locations; find the application or business unit that typically consumes the most storage, and drill down to identify waste.

Improve Storage Operations

Storage administrators struggle to ensure uptime and maintain service levels in a storage environment that is constantly expanding, changing, and becoming more complex. Yet one of the most effective strategies for addressing this challenge is simple: Stop reinventing the wheel.


For years, IT organizations have used enterprise software to automate business operations such as production, distribution, and customer care-and with tremendous results in improved quality and responsiveness. Yet these same organizations continue to use scripts and cumbersome monitoring-centric solutions to manage their IT storage operations.


A more efficient and effective solution is to adopt an iterative, process-oriented approach to automation across the storage supply chain. This approach enables organizations to standardize their storage management processes, implement consistent operational policies, and automate them. Furthermore, unlike monitoring-centric management tools, process automation offers a range of development options to enable organizations to adjust as requirements evolve. As a result, IT can quickly adapt to change and continually improve their storage management processes.

Deliver Storage as a Service

Integrating storage with the business requires a global view of storage, with analysis at the enterprise level and capacity and cost correlated to business groupings. It also requires insight that can help translate storage operational metrics into business terms and measure infrastructure against business risk and efficiency.


By mapping storage assets to the boundaries of the organization, businesses can systematically reduce risk and decrease costly inefficiencies in allocation and utilization.  With an understanding of criteria such as storage tier definitions and geographic and business boundaries, IT can implement chargeback for storage services based on specific metrics.


Furthermore, providing multiple views into the same data ensures that critical information can be seen by individuals with various responsibilities, from storage operations to business unit managers, the CIO, and others. This not only promotes awareness and accountability, but also helps align IT to business objectives.

Proactive Management

As storage utilization rates remain alarmingly low and IT environments become increasingly complex and difficult to manage, many organizations remain mired in outdated manual management techniques and siloed procedures that fail to provide the visibility, business insight, and operational capabilities needed to align storage with business goals. Yet, without knowing how much storage is actually being used, where it is used, who is using it, and more, IT cannot effectively allocate storage resources.


At the same time, demands for storage continue to escalate, even as storage budgets remain relatively flat.


Clearly, it is critical that IT personnel gain visibility and control across their heterogeneous storage environments. They must be able to discover and visualize how applications map to the resources they consume across all elements in the data center, including virtualized environments. They must also implement prudent storage capacity management practices by reclaiming lost or wasted storage, forecast for current and future requirements, and enable tiered storage to match data to the appropriate storage device according to business requirements.


In addition, monitoring and reporting on changes in the storage environment has become a business imperative, and organizations must be able to implement service levels and chargeback for storage services rendered to the business.


With these capabilities in place, IT organizations will be able to deliver storage as a service and take a more proactive, integrated approach to storage resource management, even in an increasingly challenging and complex environment.

Sean Derrington is director of product management, Symantec Data Center Management Group.




Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: