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GCN : February 2013
Q With data volumes exploding, storage can quickly become a bottleneck. How can agencies deal with this cost-effectively? ACustomers are increasingly buying in increments of pet- abytes of storage, and that's a much bigger challenge than managing a terabyte here and there. The performance char- acteristics of the drives can't keep up, and then you do in- troduce bottlenecks. The an- swer is intelligent storage subsystems. You can have different types of drives that spin at different speeds. An intelligent controller, based on user policies and guide- lines and a little bit of intelligence as it learns how you access data, places that data on the appropriate drive or storage tier. This can actually save people money by moving data to where it needs to be to optimize overall performance. This applies whether the servers are physical or virtualized. Virtualization tends to overcom- mit physical servers in collapsing them down to just a few, and then you have to aggregate all of that I/O to the storage subsystem. Automated tiering provides an an- swer for preventing the bottlenecks. QSince virtualization is touted as a way for organiza- tions to get more from the IT resources they already have, should agencies be using it more? AVirtualized solutions do tend to be more complex. But, anytime you reduce the number of physical drives you have to manage, you also reduce administrator costs as well as driving the physical utilization higher, which fur- ther reduces acquisition and environmental costs. Some folks have found virtualization to be much more expensive than they expected, and some have probably gone through virtualization and over committed the physical resources. But, as the underlying platform be- comes so much more capable, and agencies are pres- sured to manage budget and acquisition costs even more closely, virtualization is the obvious way to go. QHow will open source technology t into this? Should agencies be increasing their use of it? . AThey could be doing much more. There are some inter- esting storage solutions that are based on open source, for example. So, instead of buying proprietary solutions from OEMs, they could be buying open source software and rolling their own storage systems. Open source systems are not as feature rich as proprietary systems, and if you end up modifying them extensively it might have been better to stay with the proprietary solutions. But open source is free and, in today's environment, you just can't ignore that. QHow does the need for greater security t with these more complex environments? A We began providing encryption capabilities in our stor- age subsystems some time ago. So, data arrives at our subsystems and is encrypted before it's stored on the disk. We also moved on to encrypting data owing be- tween the servers and storage, and we've looked at providing encryption capability at the servers them- selves. The good thing is that, when you get to the stor- age layer, security costs aren't a huge issue. QHow do hot button issues such as Big Data and Bring Your Own Device affect the mix? A We tried standardizing on a particular phone in our own company, but every other person was bringing in a dif- ferent phone regardless. BYOD does have some broad challenges for sure, but for us employee productivity is the end goal. Sometimes you have to bend to the pres- sure of what employees think makes them productive. Big Data is something that the industry is already deal- ing with, to some extent. Automated tiering will provide some of the answers. You'll also be seeing a move within the industry to improving the communication be- tween storage systems and servers through storage solutions that are placed in the servers themselves. Carl Fulp, chief technology ofÞcer, XiQP Corporation V Sponsored Content For more Information on ViON, please go to: www.ViON.com