Companies Leaning on IT Vendors to Provide Them with Remedies to Current Economic Malaise
The general economic malaise of the past few months is not going unnoticed by anyone as it seems every day more companies are cutting back and tightening their belts in anticipation of a lean 2009. Just in the last months, numerous companies including 3M, Dow Chemical, and Hewlett-Packard, just to name a few, have announced cutbacks in staffing. But for those individuals that remain, the task does not get any easier. Most if not all end-users that I talk to are getting a hard push by their IT executives to cut costs as the days of simply purchasing more infrastructure is an unacceptable solution.
The need to maximize one's infrastructure investment is becoming a requirement for IT departments in 2009. To deliver on this, some are not hesitating to lean on their IT vendors to help them get the most benefit out of what they already own or plan to buy. In response to this, IT vendors are stepping up to the plate to provide these remaining individuals some guidance on how to best maximize what they still own. For instance, at Gartner's recent Data Center conference, Symantec offered some key insights on just how to cut costs by providing five actionable points:
- Stop Buying Storage
- Adopt Thin Provisioning
- Think Like a Web Company
- Leverage Deduplication
- Migrate Production Applications to VMware
Stop Buying Storage and Start Managing it
Storage resource management (SRM) tools have gotten a bad rap over the last few years but the effective use of SRM tools like Veritas Command Central Storage can provide companies with a solid understanding of what storage is actually in use versus what is allocated to the hosts. In doing so, companies can obtain accurate capacity utilization metrics and then can make informed determinations about what storage is over-provisioned, what storage is under-provisioned, what storage is misused, what storage is orphaned and what is unclaimed or unused storage capacity. Once companies quantify their storage environment and how it is used, companies can then make more informed and accurate predictions as to future purchases and then only buy exactly what they need.
Most companies have too much capacity in their storage environment that not only goes unused but consumes extra power and rack space. Eliminate some of that overhead by not only implementing storage systems that support thin provisioning but a thin aware volume manager and file system as well. Using storage systems that support thin provisioning in conjunctions with Veritas Storage Foundation and the Veritas Thin Reclamation API and Smart Move features can help to significantly drive up storage utilization (the 80% range is realistic) while driving down costs across your storage environment by only maintaining the amount of storage that your environment actually needs.
Think like a Web Company
Companies in the web business focus on three areas when building their infrastructure: massive scalability; cost-effective infrastructures and providing just enough in disaster recovery resources to maintain their business. Using basic and readily available software tools in your environment, you can accomplish tasks and avoid the need to purchase solutions that run on purpose built hardware. As an example, using your already paid for Veritas Storage Foundation for Windows, you can convert a readily-available Windows server into a file server which can eliminate the need to spend extra capital on a specialized NAS storage subsystem. The same principle can be applied to DR. Taking the time to understand your applications and their associated disaster recovery (DR) processes, you can prioritize what applications to recover and only have to perform DR on the ones required to return your business to service.
Symantec now provides deduplication features in all layers of NetBackup through its integration of Pure Disk. Companies can now realize space reductions at every level in their enterprise including the data center, remote offices and VMware environment where the amount of redundancy just screams for space savings. In doing so, companies can see significant cost savings in data storage, WAN/LAN bandwidth utilization, backup administrative costs and the elimination of tape devices in remote locations.
VMware is not a new concept or technology but using it for production applications is a place where organizations still tread lightly. Symantec's introduction of Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) into VMware and using it to protect virtual machines puts most, if not all, of these fears to bed. VCS for VMware provides application layer aware high availability, something that currently does not exist inside of VMware. It also includes other features like global protection, automated DR testing, and quick failover. So applications that probably were not great candidates for VMware in the past due to strict SLA requirements may now be virtualized with no impact to the customer's expected availability. The good news is that in taking this step, it adds another layer of cost savings as many of the production applications that once resided on dedicated physical hardware can now reside in the virtual world.In these uncertain economic times, companies that survive to see the next boom are those that take action and cut costs. However companies can also use these lean times as an opportunity to put their existing IT vendors to the test to see how well they step up to the plate and help keep their IT costs under control. The five insights that Symantec provided at the recent Gartner Data Center Conference demonstrates its commitment to its customers to not only provide unique software solutions provide tangible answers to the real ROI questions that everyone is seeking answers to right now. And let's face it, during the next few quarters anything that you can do to show cost savings for your company, the more likely you be around to tell someone about it.