Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Self-Describing Data

Oversubscribed and Underused

A key driver of storage cost is how efficiently we use the capacity available for storing application data. The phrase "oversubscribed and underutilized" crops up frequently in discussions with storage practitioners and industry observers as a kind of shorthand. However, like most industry buzz phrases, the expression has been interpreted in different ways by different vendors, introducing considerable confusion to both the analysis of the storage-cost problem and the development of strategies for addressing it.

In a nutshell, the phrase refers to the all-too-common practice of purchasing too much storage and using it inefficiently. Storage administrators overbuy because they don't always do their homework to understand how much space their applications and data actually require. To make matters worse, they underuse the space by storing infrequently accessed--and, in some cases, useless--data on the expensive gear.

Many "solutions" have appeared, from intelligent arrays and life-cycle management controllers to virtualization and hierarchical storage-management software. For the most part, however, these products blur the line between capacity-allocation efficiency and capacity-utilization efficiency. The former can yield some storage cost-of-ownership improvements, but these are dwarfed by the huge gains that could be made with an effective system of utilization management--real ILM.

Lingo Lowdown

  • 1