Storage Wars: A Byte of Reality

Don't wait for the next tech refresh:  Now is the perfect time to reexamine your agency's data storage needs.  Sequestration, data center consolidation, and other belt-tightening initiatives have forced agency officials to take a more prudent approach to how they spend IT dollars.

But before you go out and spend money on data storage, we recommend you make a three-step battle plan to assess storage needs.  You may be surprised and pleased by what you find. 

The first line of defense is to evaluate your network.  Verify the storage you already have and determine how it's actually being used.  Tools exist to help automate this discovery process and produce quick results. We have found that many customers have unused storage, often locked away in silos.  You may find you have existing storage that can be repurposed – and in today’s climate, agencies cannot afford to be wasteful.

Next, rationalize the storage you have.  Does it fit into your agency's service level objectives?  Have you defined a storage catalog that lays out recovery time objectives and other key metrics?  You may discover that you have the right amount of storage, just not in the right place.  Again, tools exist that can help define that storage catalog and put in place workflows for provisioning storage. This is an uphill battle, but it's also where you'll reap the most benefit from understanding your enterprise.

Finally, a powerful weapon in your arsenal is storage efficiency.  Do you have the right storage operating system that allows you to store more data in less space?  Storage efficiency will reduce data center floor space required, save power and cooling, and of course, cut costs dramatically.

NetApp can help arm you for storage warfare, allowing you to capitalize on the resources you already have.  We have tools to find storage inefficiencies and rationalize existing storage, creating storage catalogs and workflows. And we can help implement an efficient storage operating system to save money in the short-term and in the long run.

Every dollar you save on storage is money that you can spend on other efforts. The heat is on to demonstrate results against FDCCI mandates (see our recent study here)—and in today's budget conscience environment, it is imperative to make the most of the storage space you have.

Jeff Baxter, Principal Architect, NetApp U.S. Public Sector


It is important to understand how much money can be saved through data center consolidation efforts.  If we can put a monetary value on savings it will increase the drive to consolidate data centers. 


Emma, thanks for your comment. I couldn't agree more. Data center consolidation, in the end, is only worth the money it saves and the operational efficiencies it drives. Although I probably didn't state it explicitly, a large part of the "second step" of rationalizing existing storage and workloads is determining exactly how much has and is being spent on the different storage islands that exist, both in terms of capital expenditures and ongoing operational costs. Once you have that as a baseline, you can start to assign costs based on different service level objectives, and use that to determine how much consolidation can save. Some of NetApp's tools can be used to enable storage chargeback, or more frequently storage "showback". This allows agencies to see how much each data center contributes to ongoing cost and model what a future consolidated data center storage infrastructure would look like and what it would cost.