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Companies Leaning on IT Vendors to Provide Them with Remedies to Current Economic Malaise

The general economic malaise of the past few months is not
going unnoticed by anyone as it seems every day more companies are cutting back
and tightening their belts in anticipation of a lean 2009. Just in the last
months, numerous companies including
3M, Dow Chemical, and Hewlett-Packard, just to name a few, have
announced cutbacks in staffing. But for those individuals that remain, the task
does not get any easier. Most if not all end-users that I talk to are getting a
hard push by their IT executives to cut costs as the days of simply purchasing
more infrastructure is an unacceptable solution.

The need to maximize one’s infrastructure investment is
becoming a requirement for IT departments in 2009. To deliver on this, some are
not hesitating to lean on their IT vendors to help them get the most benefit
out of what they already own or plan to buy. In response to this, IT vendors
are stepping up to the plate to provide these remaining individuals some
guidance on how to best maximize what they still own. For instance, at
Gartner’s recent Data Center conference, Symantec offered some key insights on
just how to cut costs by providing five actionable points:

  1. Stop Buying Storage
  2. Adopt Thin Provisioning
  3. Think Like a Web Company
  4. Leverage Deduplication
  5. Migrate
    Production Applications to VMware

Stop Buying Storage and Start Managing it

Storage resource management (SRM) tools have gotten a bad
rap over the last few years but the effective use of SRM tools like Veritas
Command Central Storage can provide companies with a solid understanding of
what storage is actually in use versus what is allocated to the hosts. In doing
so, companies can obtain accurate capacity utilization metrics and then can
make informed determinations about what storage is over-provisioned, what
storage is under-provisioned, what storage is misused, what storage is orphaned
and what is unclaimed or unused storage capacity. Once companies quantify their
storage environment and how it is used, companies can then make more informed
and accurate predictions as to future purchases and then only buy exactly what
they need.

Adopt Thin Provisioning

Most companies have too much capacity in their storage
environment that not only goes unused but consumes extra power and rack space.
Eliminate some of that overhead by not only implementing storage systems that
support thin provisioning but a thin aware volume manager and file system as
well. Using storage systems that support thin provisioning in conjunctions with
Veritas Storage Foundation and the Veritas Thin Reclamation API and Smart Move
features can help to significantly drive up storage utilization (the 80% range
is realistic) while driving down costs across your storage environment by only
maintaining the amount of storage that your environment actually needs.

Think like a Web Company

Companies in the web business focus on three areas when
building their infrastructure: massive scalability; cost-effective
infrastructures and providing just enough in disaster recovery resources to
maintain their business. Using basic and readily available software tools in
your environment, you can accomplish tasks and avoid the need to purchase
solutions that run on purpose built hardware. As an example, using your already
paid for Veritas Storage Foundation for Windows, you can convert a
readily-available Windows server into a file server which can eliminate the
need to spend extra capital on a specialized NAS storage subsystem. The same
principle can be applied to DR. Taking the time to understand your applications
and their associated disaster recovery (DR) processes, you can prioritize what
applications to recover and only have to perform DR on the ones required to return
your business to service.

Leverage Deduplication

Symantec now provides deduplication features in all layers
of NetBackup through its integration of Pure Disk. Companies can now realize
space reductions at every level in their enterprise including the data center,
remote offices and VMware environment where the amount of redundancy just
screams for space savings. In doing so, companies can see significant cost
savings in data storage, WAN/LAN bandwidth utilization, backup administrative
costs and the elimination of tape devices in remote locations.

Production Applications to VMware

VMware is not a new concept or technology but using it for
production applications is a place where organizations still tread lightly.
Symantec’s introduction of Veritas
Cluster Server (VCS) into VMware
and using it to protect virtual machines
puts most, if not all, of these fears to bed. VCS for VMware provides
application layer aware high availability, something that currently does not
exist inside of VMware. It also includes other features like global protection,
automated DR testing, and quick failover. So applications that probably were
not great candidates for VMware in the past due to strict SLA requirements may
now be virtualized with no impact to the customer’s expected availability. The
good news is that in taking this step, it adds another layer of cost savings as
many of the production applications that once resided on dedicated physical
hardware can now reside in the virtual world.

In these uncertain economic times, companies that
survive to see the next boom are those that take action and cut costs. However
companies can also use these lean times as an opportunity to put their existing
IT vendors to the test to see how well they step up to the plate and help keep
their IT costs under control. The five insights that Symantec provided at the
recent Gartner Data Center Conference demonstrates its commitment to its
customers to not only provide unique software solutions provide tangible
answers to the real ROI questions that everyone is seeking answers to right
now. And let’s face it, during the next few quarters anything that you can do
to show cost savings for your company, the more likely you be around to tell
someone about it. 


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