Top Storage Tips for SME/SMB - Page 2
The first thing you need to know is how much storage you own, how much you have used, and how much you can reclaim. Although you can gather this from the vendor configuration tools, third party monitor tools can make this a breeze – but more on that later. Outside of that, you’ll need to look at both the host and server layers to identify potential areas you can reclaim it. Following these tip you can often reclaim a few TB of storage:
- In the virtualization layer, you can recover storage by identifying VM’s that can be deleted. Make sure you remove any associated files (like VMDK). Also pay attention to the number of snapshots you are making and how long you are keeping them – those take up real storage.
- In the array level, you can identify LUNs no longer associated to a server (orphan LUNs), too many snapshots, or disks that have never been put into service.
- At the host/physical server level, look for unformatted storage.
- At the file level, scan them and try to identify old, unwanted or large files that can be removed.
- Leverage Deduplication/Compression where appropriate to reduce the used capacity of the files you want to keep.
- Use storage tiering to put data on the appropriate speed and redundancy of storage. Some arrays can automate this process for you and some it is a manual process.
Try Cloud Storage
If you aren’t trying out the capabilities of cloud storage, don’t wait too long as your competitors already are. The cloud gives you the elasticity for instant growth and the offsite disaster recovery that you could only dream of a few years ago, so 2012 is the time to try it out.
You can leverage Cloud Storage in a number of different ways, but the most common are on demand primary storage and backup/DR. Here are a few guidelines that will help you evaluate if cloud storage will work in your environment.
Using cloud storage as an external primary storage gives you the flexibility to grow and shrink your storage on demand (aka storage elasticity). This gives you incredible capability to adapt your environment on the fly to meet the demands of your business. Start with some of your non-critical servers, and reclaim your local storage for use in critical systems.
Using cloud storage can help you meet budgetary constraints because it turns your capital expenditures into operational expenditures (CapEx to OpEx). In general, cloud storage is going to be a much cheaper alternative to buying, installing, configuring and maintaining new physical storage. That being said, always make sure you understand the terms of your cloud storage provider.
Cloud storage is great for backups and disaster recovery because it is cheap, expandable, offsite and secure. The costs of establishing your own true DR site, even if you contract it out, will be much higher.
Security and privacy are always a concern when putting your data on someone else’s storage. In general, since storage is their business, it’s going to be as secure as your site. Privacy is another matter, as some cloud storage providers automatically encrypt your data while others do not – this is definitely a point to drill into if you have sensitive data.
Tools that provide you visibility to your virtual and storage infrastructure allow you to manage your storage more effectively by providing you both day-to-day operational assistance (status, alerts, trends, capacity availability), but also ad-hoc management reports and capacity planning. No knock on the vendors, but most software bundled with arrays is for configuration, not real monitoring and reporting. A good tool should give you this kind of information: