It looks like acquiring storage capacity will remain on the “Top List” of IT Pros for the upcoming years. While this is a bit late as far “spring cleaning” season at home, it is never too late to do some “cleaning” on your data. Buying raw storage is the “simple” solution to meet the data growth that most environments are encountering. Keeping in mind that for every $1 spent on storage, $5 to $7 will have to be spent on managing it. This is where “spring cleaning” can help. By knowing what type of data is being kept around and what is the age of this data, you may be able to recover some precious capacity in your current assets.
There are tools in Windows Server 2003 R2 (like File Server Resource Manager) that can greatly enhance your storage utilization (see some real life benefits here) and by using this type of approach, not only you can potentially save on the raw cost of acquiring storage, you also minimize your storage management cost. Of course there is no tool that exists (that I am aware of!) that can be “one size fits all”….this is where the Windows Storage Ecosystem can help.
Quest Software (amongst others) offers some tools (see here) to really help the data lifecycle management by proving not only assessment tools but also migration tools to help you deal with the data you need to move or get rid of.
Northern also offers a full suite of storage management tools for Windows that is worth checking out.
With the rapid growth of unstructured data has also given birth to the concept of File Virtualization (everything has to be virtualized nowadays…) and this is strongly coupled with the concept of FAN that I discussed briefly in an earlier blog. File (or NAS) virtualization is the ultimate tool as far as network file management. A product like Attune Systems’ Maestro File Manager can efficiently discover, analyze and report storage usage. With this kind of approach, you can also optimize and automate data placement using policies and consolidate and tier your storage resources.
Performing a little bit of spring cleaning on your data can save you $ on the long run. Just like in real life, there are multiple tools to use in your cleaning process and I have described tools that come free in Windows Server and also very sophisticated tools that are offered by Windows storage partners so that you can scrub “deeper” depending on the condition of your environment. How to “not get your place messy” in the first place is a topic we can approach in future blogs.