Benefits of Storage Capacity Planning
It's no secret that companies create and
consume more information than ever, but chances are good that most of your
customers don't have a well-structured plan for accommodating their data growth.
Planning how much storage capacity you need is an important balancing act: not
enough and applications can crash, but too much and can blow your budget. In
this article, we'll look at the benefits of storage capacity planning and your
role in the process.
The goal of storage capacity planning is to
predict how much storage you will need in a given timeframe so that you can buy
just enough disk space for it. Although it's important to keep a buffer of spare
storage in case an application spikes in terms of its data usage, buying too
much is not economical.
One of the benefits of storage capacity
planning is that you better understand how much storage you need and are
therefore more willing to pay for it. If your storage system isn't scalable --
for instance, if your servers use direct-attached storage (DAS) -- being aware
of storage capacity planning may be a good way to realize you need a higher-end
system when it comes time to replace old hardware. Expandable scalable
solutions are an important consideration, such as the the
snap server NAS product by Adaptec.
Although plenty of vendors
have storage resource management tools that automatically monitor storage, most
companies treat storage capacity as an afterthought. Rather than putting
together a plan to centrally monitor and plan for storage growth, companies
sometimes try to save money by giving managers monetary incentives to use up as
much of their storage as possible, he said. One of the benefits of storage
capacity planning is that it helps managers prove how much storage they need,
making it easier for them to get funding.
Running too lean on storage can bring about
performance problems, and applications that run out of disk space usually crash,
often causing data to be lost forever. As a disk fills up, it becomes harder for
operating systems and applications to move data around within it, and data
fragmentation becomes more of a problem. Applications are likely to crash after
disk utilization gets past about 90%, especially if an unexpected spike in data
eats up the remaining space. Even if applications don't crash, your client will
likely have to waste time constantly monitoring and adding to the available
storage. Considering NAS and SAN solutions such as
Storevault all scalable and powerful storage
options are a good starting point.
On the other hand, buying too much disk space
is wasteful, and customers may not be aware of how much they need to buy.
Whether you use SRM tools specifically designed to track storage capacity or
more manual methods, it's important to take your client's growth rate, and not
just current utilization, into consideration. Large companies that grow their
data relatively slowly and steadily may be able to keep disks as much as 80% to
90% full, while smaller companies or companies that are constantly creating data
may want to be closer to 20% to 30%.
You should also find out how often the company
wants to buy extra storage capacity; a company that wants relatively few
upgrades needs to buy more storage up front. This is an important factor,
especially if you are using DAS or a low-end storage area network (SAN) that
can't be easily expanded. You can take advantage of the benefits of storage
capacity planning to more accurately predict how much storage it will need over
that longer period of time.