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Four really smart ways to improve storage [IBM]

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on May 17, 2011 by Jeff Kroth

Though he probably never said it, every time industry experts lament about out of control data growth, I can’t help thinking of Bill Gates’ (probably) spurious quote that “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

There’s no question we’ve certainly come a long way from 640K. Colossal data growth has become a colossal challenge for IT departments of all sizes and storage management is causing very real pains – from time and hardware costs to increased energy use and carbon footprint.

So what are the major storage management trends to keep an eye on? And what new technologies and smarter approaches should you be considering to more effectively store and manage your organization’s massive volumes of data?

#1 Data deduplication: Improved recovery times and reduced capacity

An oldie but goodie, data deduplication is still a significant and effective way to reduce the amount of storage for a given set of files by deleting duplicate data and leaving only one copy to be stored. Data deduplication at multiple storage layers minimizes the amount of data being retained for operational and disaster recovery. It can shrink storage requirements by 90% or more and lower the amount of data sent across a WAN for remote backups and disaster recovery.

Tivoli Storage Manager v6.1 and TSM FastBack v6.1 solutions offer target server-side data deduplication features that help conserve network bandwidth and slow the rate of data growth by eliminating redundant data. TSM v6.2 also offers “block level pattern tracking” source client-side data deduplication, which reduces network traffic by determining if a chunk of data has already been backed up.

#2 Progressive incremental backups: Less space, bandwidth and time

In addition to deduplication, progressive incremental backups are an effective way to free up time and resources by essentially enabling a full backup the first time then backing up changed or new data from that point forward. It’s a more efficient approach than the classic full backup method, which creates an excess of data and needlessly repeats the same work.

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TSM’s progressive incremental backups are handled by its relational database, which efficiently analyzes and identifies what data has changed from the last backup, reducing backup data exponentially. Relying on this kind of backup can mean significantly less storage space, as well as less network bandwidth and time wasted.

#3 Interface and experience: Getting a clearer picture

Historically, tools to help users gather storage management insight have been weak. But it’s a weakness that’s gotten a lot more attention in recent years based on the assumption that if you can get a clear view on what’s happening to your data you can manage it better and smarter.

For its part TSM leverages Tivoli Productivity Center’s user interface, allowing users to deep dive, perform analytics to understand current storage challenges and plan accordingly.

#4 Reclamation and colocation: Solutions for the world of tape

Tape can be one of the most costly aspects of data management, not to mention one that’s particularly prone to risk. Reclamation and co-location are two approaches that can help more efficiently manage tape environments and reduce your growing storage footprint.

Over time, old data expires, creating gaps of unused storage on tapes. Because tapes are sequential media, data can only be written to the end of the tape, so these gaps can’t be used. Reclamation is the process of reclaiming that space. TSM’s reclamation process, for instance, copies all the valid information from a tape to a new scratch tape. This eliminates all the reclaimable space and the old tape then becomes a scratch tape for the next reclamation.

Co-location is a way of grouping different tapes together by putting similar data on the same tapes. TSM’s co-location solution allows file space data to be more closely packed together, once again, allowing for more efficient use of tape environments and your storage footprint.

Learn more about IBM’s enterprise-class Tivoli storage solutions, including the new TSM 6.2 release here.

>> Register today for a webinar on this topic

Find out more about storage best practices, including storage virtualization, managing storage in virtual environments and improving your overall backup and recovery SLAs – read the Softchoice storage eBook today.

IBM Storage eBook


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