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Firms Cry Out for 'Optimization'

NEW YORK -- Don't buy that new SAN or server farm: You may have all the storage and computing capacity you need. It's just a matter of finding it and bringing it where it's needed.

The rallying cry "optimization" was taken up over and over again by software firms new and old during presentations at a conference sponsored by RBC Capital Markets here today.

"Most IT departments today are like factories were forty or fifty years ago. There's no match of supply with demand," says Roger Boyce, CEO of Evident Software Inc., whose programs track IT resource usage and consumption. In many places, IT resources are substantially underused, he notes.

Though SANs have now penetrated most large enterprises (at least 60 percent of big companies have them, according to RBC) and servers are abounding, today's presenters say companies aren't getting the good of all that capacity. Songnian Zhou, CEO of Platform Computing, a grid software firm, says it's not uncommon to see servers at 10 to 15 percent utilization.

The reason is clear: Until recently, many companies simply added servers and storage as needed to accommodate the needs of many individual departments and applications, resulting in islands of SANs, servers, and other gear. With IT budgets still constrained, CIOs are now trying to "consolidate and rationalize" what they've got, using new software tools.

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