Don’t Be Deduped Into Bad Storage

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During the past six years, TheInfoPro, an independent research network for the IT industry, has conducted a survey to determine IT professionals’ frustrations and saviors within the storage industry. The Wave 10 Storage Study individually interviews storage professionals representing companies from the Fortune 1000 as well as midsize U.S. and European companies. The one-on-one interviews, sometimes lasting up to 90 minutes, tackle three basic questions: What are your pain points? What are your initiatives to deal with those pain points? What vendors most excite you in terms of solving those pain points?

As you can imagine, the general answers to these questions have changed and evolved during the six years TheInfoPro has conducted the survey. For a time, not having enough storage space was a constant frustration among database administrators. Now, too much space often leads to poor management of the larger space — the equivalent of a messy teenager getting a bigger bedroom only to make a bigger mess.

In addition to the three basic questions, TheInfoPro asks respondents of the survey questions about 52 storage-related areas to a variety of professionals working in the storage industry: architects, managers, etc. Robert Stevenson, managing director of storage at TheInfoPro, said the major storage trends of the year are realized after all the information is collected.

“When we look at those 52 technologies, we combine the data with their budgets to see where companies are committing future dollars, and that’s what we call a heat index,” Stevenson said. “Deduplication is currently at the top of our heat index, so I’d say that’s been the biggest trend of the year. Fifty nine percent of the Fortune 1000s have plans to adopt it in the next year. [Of] those that have it in use — roughly 12 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies — 50 percent of those are planning on doubling their installation this year as well. So we’re seeing good expansion and planned adoption for those that don’t have it.”

Deduplication, or “dedupe,” steadily has been rising to the top of the list of points of pain for storage professionals, a result of users having an accidental cache of duplicate files. Addressing this takes up a disproportionate amount of time because it’s difficult to spot.

Just as new trends have emerged during the past few years, old ones still persist, according to Stevenson.

“Backup has always been listed in the top three positions as a most difficult and painful process,” said. “It’s been going up for the last five years, in terms of citation. This reflects what’s happening in terms of the staff consumption. If you look at where they spend their time, backup is typically [taking up] 40 percent of the time, and it continues to expand.”

While an issue such as storage backup always will be a big concern to a company, it’s identifying emerging problems that requires a new strategy or initiative. Part of the study’s interview is asking companies about the level of formal documentation.

“So the companies that have been showing an increase in citations have mostly been linked to deduplication — those have doubled over the last year and a half,” Stevenson said. “You also see a lot of notes on storage virtualization, which essentially tie to a desire to try and manage data classification and consolidation activity on their own.”

Storage continues to be an important and evolving part of an IT department’s whole strategy. By offering independent research on the frustrations of a variety of companies, TheInfoPro can share trends and offer solutions based on what they find. Stevenson reiterates that major improvement can be accomplished by implementing and maintaining strategies that not only address current trends but basic ones as well.

“The good news is there are savings that can be made just by updating the e-mail archiving system,” Stevenson said. “You can compress from 200 terabytes down to 20 terabytes, and you’ve just freed up space that you can deploy to other programs.”

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