Tackling storage costs is just a matter of visibility

Monday, March 30, 2015

There’s no shortage of statistics that show that data growth is out of control. Today’s organizations rely on media-rich websites, ecommerce sites, CRM applications, and social media to engage with employees, customers, and partners—and these interactions need to be captured and analyzed to improve user experience and uncover market efficiencies.

However, robust data protection policies exacerbate growth even further, requiring that data may need to be backed up to disk and to tape, replicated and stored in secure off-site disaster recovery facilities—requirements that create two, three, or even four additional copies. The result is that one terabyte of new data ends up requiring 2.5 terabytes (or more) of additional storage capacity on various media.

Much of the storage growth problem can be chalked up to business unit managers and users not having the appropriate information to make responsible capacity requests with the appropriate data protection policies attached. Users often send a request for additional capacity without fully understanding the financial impact, thinking that shrinking hardware costs are justification for unfettered growth. Given the option of backing up data to tier one storage—regardless of its importance to the business—most users will select the most robust option without truly understanding the financial impact of that decision.

At the same time, users are demanding on demand, pay-as-you-go storage services—expecting storage capacity for their projects to scale up and out instantly as they require. No longer are they willing to pay for over procurement despite their unwillingness to plan appropriately or make smarter business decisions.

Caught in the middle of this paradox is the storage team.

Despite falling hardware costs, the real cost to procure and manage capacity runs in the hundreds of billions of dollars each year globally and often shows up on the budget grouped together on one line item—bloated and conspicuous, a glaring expense. While storage supports and enables valuable operations throughout the organization, it is often perceived as a cost center, a necessity to doing business in the information age. Like clockwork, the management team goes on a crusade to cut costs, and storage, with no obvious revenue channels, is often targeted for savings.

Chargeback can provide the visibility that leads to smarter storage procurement decisions. Knowing exactly what is on the network, who is using what, how they are using it and at what capacity provides context into storage procurement requests and arms the storage team with the information they need to push back. Accurate reporting can then be used to show the C-Suite storage’s value to the organization and its ability to streamline operations. Information can then be shared with other stakeholders, informing their capacity decisions and taking the pressure off the storage team.

Tackling growing storage costs is simply a matter of visibility and the storage team’s ability to inform users of their usage habits.

APTARE—the global leader in IT Analytics—is the only company delivering unified backup and storage insights for heterogeneous IT environments across on-prem and hybrid-cloud