Modernizing Data Storage Installations: 10 Most Requested Features

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Modernizing Data Storage Installations: 10 Most Requested Features

by Chris Preimesberger

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Perhaps the most widely deployed and highly regarded virtualization practice, storage virtualization allows separate storage devices to be combined into a perceived single unit. Storage virtualization attempts to maximize the efficiency of storage devices in an information architecture.

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Data deduplication eliminates redundant data from a disk storage device to lower storage space requirements, which in turn lowers data center power and cooling costs and lessens the amount of carbon dioxide produced to generate power to run the hardware.

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Thin Provisioning

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 preset limits so that IT departments can avoid buying and managing excessive amounts of disk storage.

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NAND Flash for Tier I Data

Solid-state flash drives use enterprise-class flash memory to store and retrieve hot business and legal data, enabling read/write response times that are about 30 times faster than the current highest-quality hard disk drives. Because they have no moving parts, SSDs require much less power to run, and mechanical breakdowns are out of the picture.

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Replication is a method in which data files are copied and filed in one or more locations apart from the central data center as a backup and disaster-recovery mechanism.

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System Tiering

Storage tiering keeps often-accessed data on a fast Tier 1 spinning or solid-state disk, by far the most power-hungry option. Tier 2 data, accessed less frequently, is kept on slower, cheaper SATA (Serial ATA) disks. Tier 3 is tape storage for data that may never see the light of day again.

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Capacity Monitoring and Analytics

Capacity monitoring helps improve storage management efficiency, increase storage utilization and reduce costs. Most CM vendors provide analysis and reporting to enable IT managers to predict when new capacity will be required to stay ahead of business needs, among other useful business intelligence metrics.

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Storage mirroring software provides host-based replication and failover for enterprise and midrange customers who need a flexible, cost-effective disaster-protection strategy. Mirrored data is always stored in a separate location.

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Connectivity Options

Unified systems that can handle combinations of Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, iSCSI and/or Infiniband are in demand.

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Companies are always facing litigation, and implementing an e-discovery application package can save a lot of money. E-discovery automates the process by which records are gathered and processed for litigation. This includes anything digital: word processing files, photos, e-mail, audio and video files, instant messaging transcripts, Internet bookmarks—even data center users' logs. Rather than pay law firms hundreds of dollars per hour to sift through records, a good e-discovery package can find all the pertinent files quickly and efficiently for the court.

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