Automated SAN Finds Lost Storage Space

Compellent's new software automates tiered storage within each volume.

Compellent released on Feb. 19 a new version of its storage area network that is able to find and utilize orphaned storage space all through the system-not only in storage volumes, but even in a data center's application servers.

Compellent Storage Center 4.0 is the first networked storage system to manage data inside the storage volume, so that it can automate tiered storage within every drive, Bruce Kornfeld, Compellent vice president of marketing, told eWEEK.
"This-along with virtualization and deduplication-really amplifies the storage utilization benefits of thin provisioning and allows systems to reclaim unused disk space," Kornfeld said. "In some data centers, this can mean as many as 80 percent fewer disks are needed to run within a system, and still provide all the storage capacity that is needed."
Often far too much storage space is apportioned for applications that never will use even half of it, Kornfeld said, and that space can get lost in the shuffle as time goes on. Yet, through power draw, that wasted capacity is costing the user the same amount of money to run as volumes that hold data used regularly.
"We framed the release of 4.0 around the business impact it would have on our end users," Kornfeld said. "It's the new TCO equation for the new data center."
New features in Storage Center 4.0 include Fast Track, which dynamically places active data on the outer tracks of a disk drive to speed up access to information; Thin Import, which converts data into thin-provisioned volumes; Free Space Recovery, which finds space that the operating system continues to report as unavailable after Windows files are deleted from a thin-provisioned volume; and Application Optimizer, which tunes storage performance depending on the application being used.
Thin Import has caught the eye of several analysts. "Perhaps the most intriguing function [Compellent has] announced, with the most potential market significance, is Thin Import," Mark Peters, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK. "What it essentially does is allow you as an IT manager to address some of the past ills and not only store your existing data more efficiently but also free up whole older storage systems ... which would go to new uses, applications, offices."
"Thin Import might be one of the coolest applications of storage technology I've ever seen," said Steve Duplessie, senior storage analyst and founder of Enterprise Strategy Group. "Imagine being able to pull all the over-provisioned, over-allocated and under-utilized capacity off your old expensive arrays and instantly apply just-in-time thin provisioning to those volumes. It is tantamount to taking your 25 percent-utilized storage infrastructure to 80 percent in one fell swoop. Think of what that would mean for everything from footprint to backup-the ramifications are staggering."
Compellent Storage Center 4.0 is immediately available through Compellent's international network of business partners. Pricing for a richly configured Storage Center 4.0 QuickStart ILM bundle starts at approximately $57,200, with 7.2TB of storage, a single controller, Fast Track, Thin Import and Free Space Recovery (maintenance and service are not included).

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...