Storage Efficiencies: You Say Tomato, I say Potato
by David Merrill on Jan 27, 2012
Hu and others have recently been blogging about storage efficiencies, in terms of capacity, management, allocation, data protection and energy efficiency. I will add another dimension to this discussion, and that is the methods in which efficiencies can be measured.
Quite often we talk about an efficiency theme, and jump right into the solution or options to improve that efficiency. In my work, I tend to recommend that organizations:
- Identify the measurement system clearly
- Measure the area that is to be optimized
- Improve with specific actions and plans
The recent blogs talk a lot about the step to identify and improve. For example: you can impact storage utilization efficiency with virtualization, thin provisioning, reclamation activities and de-duplication. One can improve energy efficiencies with virtual machines, thin volumes, SSD, storage tiering and an aggressive archive program. As I mentioned, the identify and improve aspects go hand in hand, but we often forget to take the intermediate step to measure (before, during and after) our efficiency program.
A wise colleague shared this idiom with me 15 years ago – “you cannot improve what you cannot measure”. This expression has been core to our storage economics framework from the beginning.
Measuring efficiencies can sometimes be difficult and subjective. That is why financial or economic measurements are most effective. Turn the efficiency or inefficiency into money and measure the costs (or unit costs). The simple table below outlines a series of efficiency options, potential measurements and then the options that can improve the results. If measurements are taken before and after the effort, we can be sure that we have actually achieved a measurable improvement.
This is a simple outline, but you can see how the intermediate step of measurement is key to ensuring that the right actions are taken to produce the efficiencies required. Many differences may exist as to the best approach to achieve improvement, but an organization should have a singular focus on the measurement systems to align them with local goals and objectives.
Here are more posts on capacity efficiency:
- A Consensus on Storage Efficiencies
- How Much Does it Cost to Spend Money?
- The Tipping Point for Hard Disk Prices?
- Buying Disks or Buying Storage Efficiencies
- Look Beyond the Price of HDD
- Capacity Efficiencies, Again and Again
- How Thin Provisioning Contributes to Storage Efficiency
[...] it used to, and how to really measure, track and improve real costs. This is often referred to as capacity efficiencies, but goes way beyond reclaiming a few GB of [...]