Companies Waste Expensive Storage on Static Data

Most organizations underestimate the amount of unchanging information they're keeping on primary storage systems, a Copan Systems survey indicates

October 2, 2008

3 Min Read
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Most large businesses, universities, and government organizations are using expensive primary storage or archiving systems to store persistent or static data, when less costly and more environmentally friendly options are available, according to a survey of 250 IT professionals released this week by storage vendor Copan Systems Inc.

Those surveyed are managing and storing large amounts of data, with more than half handling more than 100 terabytes and nearly 20 percent overseeing systems with more than a petabyte of data. The survey indicates that 71 percent are storing persistent data on primary systems or a mix of primary and archiving systems, and that 20 percent didn't know how much persistent data sits on their systems.

Analysts estimate that persistent data makes up around 70 percent or more of all corporate data, but only 30 percent of those surveyed thought that their persistent data amounted to that high of a percentage.

"All organizations should constantly seek better understanding of all their data so that they can employ the most appropriate and cost effective solutions, and nowhere is this more important than with the vast amounts of persistent corporate data," said Mark Peters, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, in a statement. ESG estimated that persistent data constituted around 60 percent or more of all data, and its growing fast. "Yet many data centers simply do not have the right architecture in place to address this. Persistent data needs a different storage approach from dynamic data, both in terms of device and process, if users want improved operational and economic efficiencies in their data centers," he said.

There is no question that the amount of data that storage managers have to handle is growing fast. Some 41 percent of survey respondents said their corporate data has grown between 25 percent and 50 percent in the past 12 months, while 13 percent said it has grown 50 percent to 99 percent. Around 10 percent reported growth of more than 100 percent."Companies are shocked at how much persistent data that is left languishing on expensive primary data systems," Jay Gagne, a senior global solutions architect at Copan Systems, told Byte and Switch in an email. "If it is not managed appropriately, CIOs shouldnt be surprised when their IT managers come calling for more budget even when the price per GB continues to drop."

Survey respondents cited the complexity of managing persistent data as a key problem (36 percent), followed by shrinking IT budgets (20 percent), and rising costs (18 percent). They also said regulations and compliance requirements were fueling the growth of persistent data as well as the ability of users to create content. While many said energy efficiency was important, only 18 percent called it "very important".

Part of the complexity comes from the growing variety of data types that must be stored. Some 63 percent of the persistent data discussed by survey respondents was identified as file based and included documents, email, images, photos, and multimedia or video and audio files.

Copan sells a Persistent Data platform that it describes as a cost-effective way to storage, manage, protect and retrieve static and unchanging data. It can scale up to 8 Pbytes in a single chassis, and uses an Enterprise MAID architecture to reduce power and cooling costs.

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