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The Road to Cloud Computing Begins with Storage-as-a-Service

March 4, 2011

Summary

Cloud computing places new demands on storage infrastructure. Learn how storage-as-a-service enables you to reduce your organization’s storage costs while maximizing the agility of your storage infrastructure.
Today many IT organizations are exploring private cloud models, where IT is delivered as a service. It’s not hard to see why. Cloud computing aims to improve business processes, accelerate innovation, and increase the effectiveness of the workforce.
But to get there, organizations first need to build a foundation capable of delivering storage-as-a-service. Why is that? Because cloud computing places new demands on storage infrastructure.
So what exactly does storage-as-a-service mean? It means virtualizing storage and abstracting storage services from the underlying hardware. It means having complete visibility into the storage that currently exists and how it is used. It means holding users accountable for the storage they consume so that IT can allocate storage costs to the appropriate business unit. And it means automating and streamlining storage operations wherever possible.
Continue reading to learn how storage-as-a-service enables you to reduce your organization’s storage costs while maximizing the agility of your storage infrastructure.

Begin by gaining end-to-end visibility into existing storage

One of the biggest challenges facing IT organizations today is the escalating cost of storage compared to the overall IT budget. Gartner has estimated that storage costs are growing at three times the rate of everything else.1 Of course, this hasn’t escaped the attention of upper management, which has tasked IT with seeking ways to reduce the costs associated with storing information.
The first step in getting a handle on storage is to gain insight into what storage assets exist, where they’re located, who is consuming them, and how effectively they’re being utilized.
That’s easier said than done, of course. Today’s data center is more complex than ever. Unprecedented data growth, combined with new technologies and business changes, has resulted in many disparate tools, manual processes, and an overall lack of visibility into interdependencies in the data center. That means limited operational scalability and wasted resources. Gone are the days when knowing where information resided and how it was being managed was relatively simple.
Today administrators need tools that automatically identify underutilized storage resources, tracking utilization within database table spaces and mapping that to disks and RAID groups in the storage arrays.
Organizations can then turn to optimizing their existing storage assets. Virtualizing storage provides the benefits of data migration with application downtime, optimized disk usage, and improved utilization.
One way to get more out of existing storage assets is to automate a tiered storage model so that less important data can be migrated out of expensive Tier 1 storage resources. Symantec can help organizations classify their data and determine its value to the business and then map that value to the appropriate physical tier. This enables organizations to ensure that they have the right data, on the right tier, at the right price.
Administrator also need to deploy storage pooling technologies, like thin provisioning, to decrease the costs of over-provisioning. Thin provisioning challenges the long-standing storage approach of having to dedicate capacity up front, based on allocation. That results in higher capacity utilization, eliminates the guesswork in new application provision, and reduces capital expenditures and operating costs.
Bottom line: Virtual environments require an optimized storage management capability for the most appropriate allocation and utilization.

Hold users accountable for the storage they consume

According to IDC, the amount of storage capacity shipped in support of file-based storage is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 60.1% through 2013. 2
What’s more, IDC predicts that by 2014, 78% of all storage capacity shipped will be for unstructured data, such as documents, spreadsheets, and emails. 3
As can be imagined, pinpointing ownership, understanding data usage, managing data consumption, and protecting specific data become extremely difficult when the amount of incoming data overwhelms the ability to maintain it.
Symantec can help organizations remove these stumbling blocks to better control their unstructured data. For example, Symantec solutions enable IT managers to see who created, who utilizes, and who is responsible for data. Individual users can be mapped to a department or line of business for consumption reports or chargeback. In addition, Symantec management tools help improve storage reclamation, archiving, and data lifecycle management initiatives.
Bottom line: Symantec cloud solutions can help IT organizations control the ownership and use of unstructured data to further reduce storage costs.

Centralize management and automate as much as possible

As mentioned earlier, data center complexity can lead to wasted resources, such as disparate toolsets and numerous manual processes. That translates into increased risk for administrators, who are already under increasing pressure to ensure 24/7 availability of mission-critical applications.
New functionality in Symantec storage management software increases administrator efficiency by automating daily and repetitive storage tasks and centralizing operational control. By creating automated jobs and scheduling bulk operations, IT organizations can reduce manual processes including storage provisioning, online storage migrations, and thin reclamation.
Unlike point solutions, Symantec storage management software enables IT organizations to manage their storage infrastructure in a centralized, consistent fashion across operating systems and diverse storage vendors. Managing multiple hosts from a central interface improves operational efficiencies across a heterogeneous infrastructure.
Bottom line: By eliminating manual processes and providing centralized storage management, Symantec cloud solutions help ensure uptime and availability.

Conclusion

Today cloud computing is top of mind with IT organizations around the globe. Cloud computing offers the potential of huge benefits for organizations that use it for the deployment and scaling of IT for business processes.
The road to cloud computing begins with a foundation capable of delivering storage-as-a-service. That’s because cloud computing places new demands on storage infrastructure. IT organizations headed in this direction must be sure they have the right architecture and management tools. Symantec storage solutions provide the visibility and control needed to successfully approach cloud computing.
  • 1 “MarketScope for Storage Services, North America, 2009,” Gartner, 2008
  • 2 “File-Based Storage Taxonomy: Capitalizing on the Diverse World of Files,” IDC, November 2009
  • 3 “Virtual Storage Delivers a Three-Dimensional Approach to Storage Scaling,” IDC, October 2010

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