In 2009, IT professionals will be asked yet again to do more with less. Much of this focus will be on "driving out cost" projects like primary storage reduction, archiving, and further server consolidation through virtualization. All good projects, but don't forget that you also will be asked to manage all this and your current environment with less staff, hence your need to drive IN efficiency.Drive-out cost projects are critical in the next few years and there are many ways to reduce costs and further optimize the storage and virtualization environments. These projects should be started as soon as possible, and over the next few blog entry's we will identify some key projects that can be undertaken to accomplish those goals.
Despite the best efforts and success of drive-out projects, a majority of the IT infrastructure is going to remain the same. Driving in efficiency is going to mean understanding what you have, monitoring it for change, and being able to forecast storage and virtualization utilization going forward. In fact, having this information first is an important baseline as you start those drive-out cost projects so you can measure how much cost you actually drive out.
Many of the storage or virtualization manufacturers supply some sort of monitoring tool of their environment. A few have purchased a software solution that allows for the monitoring of other vendors' products, but companies like Tek-Tools, Akorri, and MonoSphere are independent companies that provide more complete end-to-end views of the virtualization and storage environments.
These tools are critical to the success of an IT staff that is stretched too thin already and is likely to be stretched even thinner. They also are critical to the success of drive-out cost projects. Many of these projects try to cram more into the same or less space. The better-safe-than-sorry approach to storage and virtualization capacity planning is too expensive in tough economic times.
Having a real-time heads up display into your storage and virtualization infrastructures with trending capability allows you to run your storage and virtualization systems closer to the "red line," making use of that excess capacity and optimizing IT budget dollars.
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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.