For every eight terabytes (TB) of usable disk capacity within the storage infrastructure, there is the potential to generate a million dollars in operating expense (Opex) savings, according to a 'storage economics' whitepaper.
While a number of enterprises have been able to generate a million dollar Opex saving with five or six terabytes of storage, the $1 million to 8TB ratio is a conservative figure over a three year term.
Based on hundreds of storage ROI exercises across the globe, whitepaper author David Merrill identifies potential savings through new storage architectures.
Merrill identifies pooled storage architecture as one opportunity as it requires fewer people to manage technology using network-connected storage and fewer storage pools.
"The net effect is that fewer people are needed to manage more storage in the future; human resources remains the single highest data centre cost," he said.
"SANs and newer-generation storage provide higher data storage uptime when compared to locally attached disk and SCSI connections."
Merrill said networked storage is up to 60 percent cheaper than the same sized DAS environment based on a 2TB system.
He said this is due to improved disk utilization and reduced tape drives.
The paper recommends storage and server consolidation combined with virtualization pointing out that storage consolidation can reduce the number of Windows and Unix servers for CFIS or NFS-mounted storage.
It estimates that 10 percent of the Unix or Windows servers in a data centre are used only for disk-access purposes.
"With SAN and NAS converged solutions these servers can be eliminated," Merrill said.
Merrill also recommends the introduction of a storage chargeback system for end users.
"Chargeback schemes drive proper behaviour of storage locations [tiers] that are based on service levels and price points; with chargeback mechanisms all data types will not be delivered and engineered in the same manner," he said.
Documentation is also important, according to Merrill, as certified strategies discourage rogue technologies and point solutions.
Interestingly, many of the recommendations are geared toward the greening of the data centre, according to Tim Smith, A/NZ marketing manager at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).
For example, newer generation storage systems take up less floor space and lower power and cooling costs.
"The greening of the data centre is a positive byproduct of reducing storage costs," Smith said adding that going green can actually generate a lot of green in the hip pocket.
"Warm and fuzzy will never drive the green agenda there needs to be tangible benefits like cost savings to get CIOs interested.
"As we know the data centre is the most energy hungry and inefficient part of the business so there is plenty of low hanging fruit to leverage savings."