Optimize storage during downturn, firms urged

During difficult times, Asian businesses need to look at strategies for lowering operating expenditure and better managing data growth, says analyst.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The economic slowdown is an opportune time for Asian businesses to catch their breath and plan strategically how to get ahead, by focusing on storage optimization, an analyst said.

Controlling and lowering management and administrative costs related to hardware equipment will be a "big, big area" for businesses in the region going forward, Simon Piff, IDC's program director for Asia-Pacific storage research, said Wednesday at Hitachi Data Systems' (HDS) user conference in the island-state.

Concurring, Hu Yoshida, HDS' vice president and CTO, noted that the current downturn would dampen enterprises' modernization of IT. "During this time, if you maintain IT budgets, you're going to be out of line with the business."

Operating expenditure, said Hu, would similarly need to be reduced in line with the decrease in capital expenditure.

Pointing to IDC findings, Piff said power and cooling costs as well as equipment management and administrative costs--which contribute to operating expenditure--have risen significantly over the years. On the other hand, new hardware cost or capital expenditure, has remained relative constant. Businesses can reduce capital expenditure by focusing on driving utilization of their data centers, and at the same time, achieve savings in operating expenditure through lowering costs associated with management and energy.

In contrast with economic uncertainty, data proliferation is positive, Piff pointed out. "Even though business is slowing down, data [growth] is not."

According to IDC, traditional structured data is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.3 percent between 2007 and 2011. That type of data, however, is expected to grow the slowest. Unstructured data will grow at a CAGR of 63.7 percent during the same period, while content depots--data built by Web 2.0 and mobile service companies--will register a CAGR of 121 percent.

In his keynote address, Hu said that without the luxury of additional capital, enterprises need to focus on getting more out of their existing storage assets, chiefly by improving utilization of assets.

The company, he added, has the technologies to help customers address reduction in their operating expenditure. Within its dynamic provisioning technology, the ability to copy and move only dynamically provisioned pages and not the allocated unused portion of the volume, as well as the capability of provisioning LUNs (logical unit numbers) within minutes, can help to manage ongoing operational costs, he explained.

IDC's Piff noted that organizations which sustain their advertising during a downturn come out of the recession stronger and with greater market share. In the same vein, businesses need to capitalize on the opportunity to emerge stronger after the downturn, by investing in data center optimization.

The market analyst firm last week said hardware, with the exception of storage, will be hardest hit by cuts in IT spend.

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