EqualLogic added thin provisioning, which improves utilization and scalability while helping IT shops reduce their total storage costs.
Thin provisioning is a method of storage resource management and virtualization that lets IT administrators limit the allocation of actual physical storage to what applications immediately need. It enables the automatic addition of capacity on demand up to pre-set limits, so that IT departments can avoid buying and managing excessive amounts of disk storage.
EqualLogic, based in Nashua, N.H., thus joins other storage companies such as Hitachi, EMC, NetApp, 3PAR and CommVault to offer thin provisioning for either SAN or iSCSI storage systems.
A recent Gartner report advised that "insatiable storage growth, coupled with staff shortages and budget constraints, make thin provisioning a strategically important feature, which is currently offered by only a handful of forward-thinking vendors.
"Thin provisionings profound benefits for IT organizations include improved staff productivity, higher end-user satisfaction rates, increased storage utilization, more accurate capacity forecasts, and smaller environmental footprints—all of which mean reduced costs. For this reason, Gartner recommends including at least one storage system that offers thin provisioning on any shortlist," the report stated.
Thin provisioning extends EqualLogics existing peer provisioning features that automate the key functions needed to configure, manage and scale storage by further cutting administration times for volume and capacity growth.
This makes the buy-as-you-grow storage model of the modular PS Series more seamless for servers and applications. EqualLogics thin provisioning capability provides flexibility and user safety controls. These include the ability to turn thin provisioning on and off as needed for any volume, a company spokesperson said.
This allows users to test the most suitable applications and volumes for thin provisioning, with the knowledge that they can return to "normal" provisioning online. The PS Series includes proactive, user-defined threshold alarms and controls on automatic space allocation that minimize the possibility of a "run" on storage that could fill capacity of a thinly provisioned SAN, the spokesperson said.
EqualLogic also announced a number of enhancements aimed at providing better flexibility and control for customers. These include auto-replication improvements; fast fail-back for testing disaster recovery and for quickly moving services between disaster recovery locations; and manual initial replication for fast deployment of recovery sites with limited bandwidth between sites.
New administrative management features now include roles-based management to limit access to and customize views of particular pools of storage for authorized administrators. This is useful for ISP and ASP hosted services. Historical performance trending analysis, measuring IOPS and latency, is also a new feature, a company spokesperson said.
The new features will be available in Version 3.2 of the EqualLogic PS Series firmware, available in the second quarter of 2007. All PS series customers under valid warranty or support agreement can upgrade their firmware at no extra cost.