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MonoSphere: Thin Provisioning Risks

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A recent survey conducted by MonoSphere Inc., creators of storage capacity management software, reveals that 75 percent of 249 storage professionals cited increased utilization of storage hardware as the top expected benefit of thin provisioning. However, 77 percent indicated that the increased risk of running out of storage and added management complexity are major obstacles hampering the implementation or expanded deployment of this promising technology.

Thin provisioning creates storage pools that can be shared by multiple consumers of storage. It also makes it appear to each storage consumer that there are significantly more storage resources available than are actually present. The risk is that one or more storage consumers can fill all the actual storage, resulting in disastrous situations where multiple applications and end users are unable to save data. Thin provisioning also adds another layer of complexity that needs to be managed. Implementations become especially complex when managing storage systems that support both thin provisioning (non space-guaranteed) and traditional provisioning (space-guaranteed) at the same time, a commonly desired configuration.

Other survey findings include:

  • Top benefits for implementing thin provisioning are increased utilization of storage hardware (75 percent) and easier provisioning with less disruption (49 percent).
  • Top drawbacks for implementing thin provisioning are increased risk of running out of storage (44 percent), added complexity to the storage environment (43 percent), and lack of thin provisioning management tools (42 percent).

Since application owners generally ask for more storage capacity than what they really need, expensive IT assets are vastly underutilized,” said Bob Laliberte, analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group. “Implementing thin provisioning managed by a storage capacity management solution creates an environment where corporations can safely and effectively raise storage utilization and reduce capital spending.”

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