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The Technology Consumption Gap

by Hu Yoshida on Nov 1, 2011

Over the past few years there have been a plethora of new features and functions that provide immediate value, and reduce capital and operational costs. Technologies like thin provisioning can easily restore 40% of existing capacity by recovering allocated, unused space in a storage volume. Virtualization can move 60% to 80% of data on expensive tier 1 storage to lower cost tiers of storage, and dynamic tiering can automatically ensure that hot spots on a volume reside on high performance tiers of storage without the need to move the entire volume.

Advanced product features:

  • Technology refresh of large storage frames—which can take six months to a year—can now be completed in a weekend with storage virtualization
  • Static data, which is 80% or more of data center data, can be offloaded to a content platform and replicated only once to eliminate the need for repeated incremental and full backups
  • Storage systems supporting VMware VAAI can offload workload from VMware, increase the provisioning of VMs by 300% to 400% and reduce CPU and memory utilization by 20%

hu_16Even though the savings from these new features can be significant and the payback can be immediate, many IT shops are still not taking advantage of these new technologies.  There appears to be a growing gap between available technology and its consumption, despite the real economic benefits that can be realized.

Some IT shops using legacy storage believe migration to these new technologies will require a tremendously disruptive “rip and replace” of their existing infrastructure.. With control unit based storage virtualization, it is possible to map these new functions to existing storage assets without the need to “rip and replace” and without the need to remap the existing LUNs.


Some IT shops believe that the cost of software associated with storage virtualization is not justified. When we investigate this further, we find that this is based on the cost of acquisition and does not consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the rate of return on existing assets (ROA). This is where storage economics can be helpful. HDS has provided storage economics studies for over 600 customers since 2004.  In most cases we have been able to increase storage utilization from 30% to 60%, deliver a ROA of 160% and payback in nine months, and reduce operating costs of 35% to 50%.

In many cases, IT has been doing more with less for the past five years, and operations staffs are overwhelmed with so much work that they do not have the cycles to learn the new technologies, do the planning, and implement the new functions. The same two people who used to manage 50TB five years ago are now managing over 500TB or more. Even if IT has purchased the new technology, they often do not have the cycles to realize its full value. In order to help our customers realize the full worth of our technology, we offer services to help accelerate adoption. We understand that technology needs to be supported by processes, people, and business objectives, and we provide services that help in all these areas.

In a down economy filled with uncertainty, there are technologies that can help IT get more value from their existing resources and reduce cost, risk, and power consumption. The economics of these technologies can be quantified by storage economics, and the implementation can be accelerated by professional services.


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Comments (1)

David Merrill on 03 Nov 2011 at 1:46 pm

Hu, Actually we have done over 1,000 storage econ assessments in HDS worldwide since 2002.

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