That latest storage upgrade you’ve just pushed past the company bean-counters may be unnecessary. It may be cheaper and more efficient to reorganise storage according to the application that’s trying to use it.
So says the manager of BMC’s recovery and storage management business unit, Keith Gahagan. As storage grows and new applications are added, the two are not always matched up in the optimum way, says Gahagan.
A report by European research organisation the Butler Group says underutilisation of storage on complex IT systems through uncontrolled expansion is “typically between 40% and 50%”.
BMC, as part of the ACSM (applications-centric storage management) consortium of vendors, claims it has achieved accurate “discovery” of storage, showing the user organisation which application and database is using which storage unit and type in its system. From there, he says, it’s currently up to human minds to work out better organisation, but the consortium is working on automatic storage planning software.
Products in this line should be available from BMC in the US by about July, Gahagan says. BMC's products include the Patrol storage management range.
Not only should the storage be appropriate to the desired level of service from the application; unwanted application interaction should also be reduced, says a BMC white paper on the topic. Such interaction “is the leading inhibitor to efficient use of very high-density disk platters”, it says. “As density increases, so does the likelihood of collision between I/O requests from different applications sharing that platter.”
Having been “discovered” once, the storage/application map is kept on a repository for instant response to future queries, and continually updated with addition of new applications and storage. While generally complimentary about BMC’s approach, Butler says the lack of a provision for replicating this repository is “a serious weakness”. That will be addressed in the future, says BMC, though it offers no date.
The ACSM consortium has 22 members, including Compaq, Cisco, Brocade and Auckland-based OTL Software.