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5 Ways to Downsize Your Storage Footprint & Reduce Costs

by on September 30, 2010

While the price of storage on a dollar-per-megabyte basis continues to drop, the costs associated with managing that storage continue to grow. One way to get a handle on those costs is to reduce your storage footprint. Bob Scheier wrote an article in Computerworld for taking your data’s foot size down a step or two. And I thought it would be useful info to pass along.

Storage-footprint Deduplication.
Data has a way of duplicating itself. Those duplicates don’t add value to anything but they do take up space. Deduplication ditches redundant data making more space available for unique data. Storage needs can be clipped by as much as 90 percent through deduplication, according to Scheier.

This form of getting more bang per megabyte has been used as long as there have been zip files. Its effectiveness varies, however. A SQL database can be squeezed one-sixth its size (6:1 ratio), for example, but other data types—JPEG images, for instance—have considerably lower ratios.

Policy-Based Tiering.
With this method, data is classified by certain criteria—how often it’s accessed, for example, or how old it is. Based on those criteria, the data can be erased or moved to less expensive storage systems, such as tape. Once it has been moved to tape you should invest in the best tape management software possible to help manage that media, but that’s for another blog post 🙂

Storage Virtualization.
This allows data to be pooled more easily. It facilitates the recovery of data from backups or disaster recovery applications. It can also reduce the need for multiple versions of those application types. The fewer applications on your system, the more space you have for other kinds of data.

Thin Provisioning.
This technique doesn’t free up existing space, but it keeps a lid on an application’s demand for space on a server. Although this technique doesn’t actually cut the data footprint, it does delay the need to add more drives.

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