Saturday, October 18, 2008

Storage technologies for slowing economy

Saving Money Through Technology

New technologies and approaches also anticipate lean times ahead. Diane Bryant, CIO of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), spoke to a global workforce increasingly collaborating and sharing data and information. The world is going green, said Bryant, and Intel's goal is to efficiently manage information and data to enable business growth and agility.

Bryant outlined an approach for managing the explosion of information based on policies and procedures for information lifecycle, data, capacity, security and rights management, and engineering innovation through SAN/NAS virtualization, thin provisioning, next-generation backup and recovery, fabric unification, and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet).

The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) featured a multi vendor FCoE demo, and the SNW Hands-On Labs featured FCoE exercises from Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Intel, NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) and QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC). An FCoE case study presented by SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) tutorial speakers Sunil Ahluwalia of Intel and Errol Roberts of Cisco found that FCoE delivered the same performance as FC at 25 percent less cost. With a target specification completion in 2008, more FCoE solutions should be available to storage architects and managers next year.

Intel also sees an opportunity to integrate new technologies such as solid state drives into storage tiers, which can enable users to meet the highest performance, highest reliability and lowest power demands using 39 percent less heat and 91 percent less power under load compared to a 15k RPM hard disk drive. SNIA's recently announced Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) led to solid state disk demonstrations that emphasized power reduction and footprint consolidation for critical corporate applications.

Marty Smith, CIO of ChoicePoint, outlined the challenges that were faced by the company's many business units that had different business modes, no enforced server standards, a fragmented infrastructure with no shared services, and an inflexible maintenance schedule. ChoicePoint had been a hosting facility for the business units that would buy and stand up servers on their own.

Smith called for using a shared storage model, optimizing the data center to increase performance and generate cost savings for business unit customers. Smith first developed a short and long term technology road map, built a process and governance strategy, and started small with simple implementations. ChoicePoint then expanded, measured as they went and communicated their successes. Since beginning the project, ChoicePoint has eliminated 500 rack units of servers and low-density storage, consolidated 23 SAN islands to one core-edge SAN, and cut costs by 40 percent. Smith emphasized that software licenses were his biggest savings, and to ignore them could lose all savings from virtualization.


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