As unstructured data and files such as documents, messages, MP3s, podcasts and images continue to drive up storage demand within enterprises of all sizes, IT organizations are increasingly adapting cloud technologies to improve their ability to support their internal clients, in particular, when it comes to archiving and retaining information for increasingly longer periods of time.
A case in point was provided by Sean Maisey, Director of Operations and Engineering for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which during Wikibon’s Peer Incite call shared his organization’s struggles with:
- Provisioning storage for over 3,000 users in roughly 70 departments all with their own budgets and stove-piped infrastructure,
- Backing up almost 100 terabytes of unstructured data across multiple tiers and platforms,
- Dealing with degrading access times along with a spike in data access requests,
- Sharing information electronically across the enterprise,
- Soaring storage costs.
Maisey and his team determined that a File Virtualization solution from F5 front-ending their tier 1 NetApp FAS 250 Filers and NetApp NearStore tier 2 SATA drives would essentially eliminate the disruption associated with storage administration and automate many storage management tasks including the time and cost to migrate data.
Maisey stated that the F5 solution moved them closer to a true ILM environment and provides the following Benefits:
- Free up more than 80% of total useable tier 1 storage space,
- Dramatically improve response times,
- Allow users to share information across departments,
- Eliminate storage related help desk calls,
- Automatically migrate data from tier 1 to tier 2 storage.
GRS TRENDS for CLOUD
As organizations increasingly become more “cloud-like” and look to update outmoded processes and Get Rid of Stuff (GRS), including older equipment, at least three trends are emerging including:
1) The elimination of non-x86 architectures for all but the most specialized applications,
2) The elimination of stove-piped storage and network infrastructure,
3) The boundaries between storage tiers and including external cloud repositories are breaking down.
Cloud enabling solutions such as file virtualization hold tremendous possibilities especially for mid-sized and smaller organizations that do not have the resources to proactively manage their storage environment, are cost constrained and need to improve service levels.
Action Item: Organizations must embrace this new IT reality and shed not-invented-here mentalities which have led to less efficient and more restrictive infrastructure.