Storage Profiling

A recent survey conducted by Computer Reseller News highlighted the fact that many IT Directors are concerned that their storage suppliers are not doing enough to help them better utilise their existing investments in storage products. NAS are involved within our customer’s IT departments on a daily basis. We are constantly discussing new and innovative ways to address many of the common storage issues as well as how best to ensure that budgets are being allocated wisely on the most effective solution, ensuring savings in time, money and resource.

During the process that we follow prior to making recommendations to our customers regarding storage strategy it is apparent that there is often little appreciation of the way that data is deployed across their enterprise. The customer is aware that data storage requirements are growing but has no real grasp of how the data is deployed and it’s relevance to their organisation.

With this visibility lacking it becomes a major challenge to find and recommend the correct solution that will justify budget allocation and demonstrate a clear and concise ROI to your organisation. After all, why spend more money without first understanding what you have and ensuring it is fully and efficiently utilised?


Storage as a Service

Tactical decisions are made when it comes to purchasing storage products in response to a particular requirement or problem rather than approaching storage as a “service” to their organisation. Storage is added piecemeal thus resulting in disparate “islands” of storage that cost more to manage than they did to buy.

An assessment is required to provide the concrete facts behind your existing data utilisation. This is often known as Data Profiling. It may be carried out in-house by purchasing the relevant tools. However, this approach may be lengthy and expensive due to learning curves and other operational priorities. Worse still, it may not yield maximum benefits if the relevant experience is not present within the organisation.

To provide a faster, more flexible and cost effective approach NAS, one of the UK’s leading data management specialists, offers a professional data profiling service. By collecting information directly from your environment and supplying a full and comprehensive analysis providing a clear insight into your data management system, we are able to offer you the facts on which to base your decisions. Our reporting also makes recommendations for improvements that you need, as opposed to what you may think you need, or for that matter, what you are being sold.

This reporting is invaluable and ensures you have the absolute facts available at your fingertips, making budget allocation and internal justification a pain-free process. You and your team can rest assured that your data management decisions are based on reality and that you have an efficient and effective future-proofed system in place.

The following data statistics form the basis for the report:-

  • Data access profile (age of file, size of file, date of last access)
  • Data type (content addressable, .pst, MP3, etc.)
  • Data volume
  • Duplication or worse
  • Location

Depending on your priorities, some or all of the points below can also be addressed in the report.

  • Suggestions for immediate improvements/optimisation
    • “low hanging fruits” actions
  • Conceptual design of a data management strategy tailored to your business including
    • Options for tiering your storage based on the volume of data against its access profile (potential cost optimisations are illustrated whenever possible)
    • Server availability suggestions (based on the level of data accessed)
  • Recommendations on adequate data protection strategy based on the business needs and the data profiles identified.
  • Approach to addressing potential compliance requirements
  • Suggested granular phased approach to implement the recommendations. These phases reflect the priority of the business requirements and the budgetary constraints that you have communicated during data gathering

The report also provides answers to vital questions;

  • Identifying how much you would benefit from auto archive and how many servers should be involved in the migration. Also, what types of media should be considered.
  • Identifying whether file duplication is causing excessive backup load or needs to be accounted for when considering auto archive.
  • Identify critical servers in terms of how active they are and establish whether they offer a sufficient level of protection and availability.
  • Identify static servers that could be considered for archive or server consolidation
  • Identify how much data is hosted per server and more importantly, where that data is located, identifying bottlenecks and design considerations for Consolidated backup projects.
  • Identify space savings and resulting backup load reductions that would result from moving static data away from the front-line storage and introducing single instance control across the file system.
  • Identify the value of an automated, administration free, multi-tiered storage approach, based upon data usage and age.
  • Effectiveness and compliancy of current approach to e-mail control and it’s archive