Seven things every IT person should know about storage

You've got to be in the know of storage truths to make use of them

5. Storage virtualization appliances can give you a single storage system for both backups and live storage

Just ask the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UFCVM). Over the last six months, the college has been putting its 7TB storage area network through its paces, using it for nearline backup and primary storage.

UFCVM relies on Storage Virtualization Manager (SVM), a virtualization appliance from StoreAge Networking Technologies, now owned by LSI. The SAN setup reduced backup times by half, and the project came in under budget, says Sommer Sharp, systems programmer for the college in Florida, U.S.

Provisioning is a painless matter of moving volumes to any server that needs it, so live data can be managed as easily as backups.

6. Lawsuits are a fact of life and sloppy e-discovery can cost you millions

Recent surveys show that, on average, U.S. companies face 305 lawsuits at any one time. With each lawsuit comes the obligation for discovery -- production of evidence for presentation to the other side in a legal dispute. With 95 percent of all business communications created and stored electronically, that puts a heavy burden on IT to perform e-discovery, finding electronically stored information.

In the U.S. court system, the onus of e-discovery took on new weight on Dec. 1, 2006, when amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) took effect. "With the amendments to the FRCP, the courts are saying, 'We know the technology exists to do this stuff. We want to see you take some reasonable steps to put processes and technologies together to do e-discovery. And if you don't, we're really going to hold you accountable for it,'" says Barry Murphy, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

He cites the recent case of Morgan Stanley vs. Ronald Perelman, in which Morgan Stanley was hit with a US$1.57 billion jury verdict, which hinged primarily on the company's lax e-discovery procedures.

7. Storage grid standards could put an end to proprietary storage management

The Open Grid Forum, a standards organization focused on Grid Computing, is working on a variety of standards for the compute, network and storage infrastructure, all the way from describing jobs to being able to move and manage data, says Mark Linesch, who heads the organization.

Work is progressing around defining a grid file system and naming schemes, and developing a storage resource manager for grids. The group is collaborating with other standards bodies like the Distributed Management Task Force and the Storage Networking Industry Association.

The ultimate goal is to enable proprietary storage vendors to make their gear interoperable.

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More about BillionDistributed Management Task ForceForrester ResearchMorganMorgan StanleySharpStorage Networking Industry AssociationStoreAge Networking Technologies

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