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So Much Data, So Little Space

IBM SAN Volume Controller reduces complexity and cost through virtualization

IBM SAN Volume Controller reduces complexity and cost through virtualization

Never has there been a more demanding, challenging business environment than today. For a company to compete effectively in an increasingly global economy, it should have instant access to key information 24-7. IBM refers to the ability to access information at any time - from anywhere - as information on demand. Providing on demand information access is challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is the sheer data quantity that we must manage and its exponential growth.

In many organizations, the IT infrastructure is stretched, and it's a challenge to handle the storage, management and protection of rapidly growing databases. Compounding these problems are regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II and thousands of others that require long-term retention and access to key data. Managing this environment presents a huge and growing challenge.

One of the biggest inhibitors to on demand data access is infrastructure complexity. During the past several years, storage hardware prices have continued to decline by 30 percent to 40 percent annually, but the complexity of the IT environment has continued to increase. As a result, hardware acquisition cost is now a much smaller portion of total costs, representing about 20 percent of the true cost of storage. About 80 percent of storage costs are incurred in accessing, managing and protecting the stored data.

A majority of these costs are driven by the need to better secure and protect critical business information that's needed to stay competitive and to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. As a result, many organizations are incurring 50 percent of their overall storage costs in backup/recovery and downtime-related issues.

What's in an Infrastructure?

Typical infrastructures include multiple storage area networks (SANs) with storage from different vendors, each with its own storage-management procedures and approaches to copy services. This increases complexity, which can increase data-management workloads and cause application disruptions when moving data between storage arrays. This negatively affects business operations and cost. In an attempt to minimize these problems, many organizations lock into single-vendor approaches, which inhibit flexibility and the ability to make the most cost-effective storage choices.

In addition, the complexity inherent in these "islands of automation" results in a lack of efficiency, limited - if any - information or data sharing and higher costs. Even worse, this can cause a poor customer-knowledge base, leading to poor customer service, which can erode customer satisfaction, customer relationships, sales and market share.

Customers have reported that SVC has allowed them to increase storage infrastructure utilization up to 85 percent of overall capacity.

Jim Tuckwell is program director responsible for storage-solution and systems-synergy marketing with IBM. Jim can be reached at

Roger Wofford is the product marketing manager for the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller. Roger can be reached at

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