Optimizing Storage Efficiency  in a Multi Vendor Environment

Data storage is growing exponentially with new applications adding tremendous competitive advantages to customers, but this growth is also creating significant IT challenges – most notably: How to manage this growth in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

So, what is storage efficiency and how do I measure my storage efficiency on a reoccurring basis? 

Wikipedia defines storage efficiency as:

the ability to store and manage data that consumes the least amount of space with little to no impact on performance; resulting in a lower total operational cost. Efficiency addresses the real-world demands of managing costs, reducing complexity and limiting risk.

The Storage Industry Networking Association (SNIA) defines storage efficiency in the SNIA Dictionary as:

storage efficiency = usable capacity / raw capacity

However, this definition fails to consider configuration differences between arrays and array configurations.  For example, an array like the IBM XIV family automatically mirrors all of the data stored on the array to maximize data resiliency. This would lead one to negatively evaluate the XIV when the more appropriate definition would be:

Storage efficiency (array) = $ spent / usable storage

  • ($/GB) for the array

Storage efficiency (customer usage) = $ spent / storage used

  • ($/GB Used)
  • this shows how efficient the customer is as measured by space utilization

The chart below shows how Visual Storage Intelligence (VSI) measures efficiency over time – showing your usage trends and allowing you to monitor efficiency over time.

From a customer perspective, there are many other aspects to consider when analyzing efficiency.

Such as:

  • Is the right storage being used by the right applications?
    • Are low performance applications using high performance storage? Or the reverse?
  • Do I have the ability to plan/project my storage requirements by business application and performance needs?
    • e. – Can I do capacity Planning and forecasting?
  • Do I have reporting accountability?
    • Do I have the ability to track and hold business areas accountable to their requests and usage?
  • Do I have automated measurement systems to answer these questions?

Businesses need the ability to track usage by business application and ensure the right storage is being used by the right application. This is much more difficult to measure mathematically because it does involve some “value judgements” which must be established in advance.  Typically, customers want their backup data on slow, inexpensive storage and score all applications according to the average weightings for the enterprise on an ongoing basis.  Oftentimes this analysis is not done because of the difficultly in measuring, but in reality, this is one of the most important and valuable steps on measuring and maximizing your storage efficiency.

The charts below show how Visual Storage Intelligence is used for capacity commitment by application and forecasting by application based on a 3 year forecast.

Businesses need tools with the ability to track efficiency over time that can provide ongoing measurements and project storage requirements – allowing business users to adjust their usage based on trends, without complex data collection and aggregation processes or a complex report building process.

VSI is an automated storage reporting and analytics tool which collects data from your storage arrays and provides online screens as well as on-demand PDF report generation to analyze, track and report on all of these requirements to ensure your company can maximize the value of your storage investments over time.

While VSI collects data only from storage arrays, it provides up to 7 levels of automated reports and analysis.

Reports and analysis for all levels of the hierarchy are automatically generated and tracked over time for future capacity planning as well as historical reporting.

Because VSI is vendor agnostic, data from different vendors and technologies can be normalized into a single report for simplified reporting purposes.  Oftentimes the problem is not the desire to provide reports but the complexity to collect and organize the data into simple and meaningful ways which allow all levels of management to see the same information without having to request separate and specific reports to meet their momentary needs.  VSI delivers these capabilities via a SaaS delivery model, allowing any authorized user to view, sort, filter and select the specific data they wish to analyze -from a specific LUN of storage all the way to all the storage used by a specific business application area.

With the continuous growth and complexity of analyzing Data Storage, businesses need a single tool to stay ahead of trends for the most efficient and cost-effective solution. Visual Storage Intelligence, with 7 levels of automated reports and analysis, gives businesses that single pane of glass for all of their data storage requirements.

Contact Us to Learn more about Visual Storage Intelligence or Request a Demo.