Penny-Pinching Tips for Storage

Introduce simple file/print and Web applications to Linux, gain some experience, and then gradually execute a small-scale Linux SAN.

Investigate archiving systems to take inactive data off production systems to eliminate as much as 60% of your nightly backup workload.

Join a strong user organization such as the Association of Storage Networking Users (www.asnp.org) and find out how to reduce your storage costs by networking with your peers.

Train everyone in storage a little every month. That can bring down your support costs considerably.

Request proposals only for what you need and stick to it. Don't be swayed by the latest vendor bells and whistles. Often, they are the equivalent of a car salesman talking you into an extra US$100 a month for a better CD player, an extra cup holder and a sunroof. Do you really need them?

Schedule defragmentation before servers are backed up. It's a great way to speed backups and reduce costs. But don't use the built-in tool that comes with Windows. Get a networkable defragmenter such as Executive Software International Inc.'s Diskeeper.

Write requests for proposals that are neither too general nor too specific. Too specific and costs can mount. Too general and you end up with software that doesn't fit your needs or that lacks business value.

Decide if you actually have the time, expertise and resources to competently evaluate vendors or implement storage projects. If not, farm it out to industry experts.

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