Data growth appears to be an unstoppable force in our digital world. There is virtually no cost to create and copy data, but it can be relatively expensive to store and manage. The challenge for IT teams is finding solutions that mitigate the storage costs and management costs of all this growing data and give them a way to accommodate data growth more flexibly in a more orderly, measured fashion. This article discusses some of the existing technologies IT teams use to manage their storage capacity and how the hybrid data management architecture of the Microsoft hybrid cloud storage (HCS) solution gives them powerful, new automated tools for managing data growth.
IT teams looking for ways to manage data growth have many things to consider, including how often they will need to upgrade the capacity of their storage systems and what the associated management overhead is. Automated storage and data management tools that provide flexible ways to structure storage and lower its costs are highly valued.
Virtual server tools, such as SVMotion and Windows Live Migration, which migrate VM data from one storage system to another are an effective way to manage capacity crises when they occur. The Microsoft HCS solution works in these environments and provides a great destination for migrated VM data due to the elastic nature of its hybrid storage architecture.
Thin provisioning has proven itself as one of the best tools for dealing with data growth by allocating capacity dynamically to expandable storage volumes, instead of parceling it in advance into fixed-size volumes. Nonetheless, the IT team needs to carefully manage the overall capacity of a thin provisioning system to avoid hitting the proverbial storage wall. The Microsoft HCS solution is a thin provisioning system that uses cloud-as-a-tier with Windows Azure Storage to create an expandable amount of storage that is shared among multiple expandable volumes.
Scale-up and scale-out storage architectures that were developed for enterprise storage have both hardware and facilities costs that companies want to control. The scale-across architecture of the Microsoft HCS solution is a completely new approach that automatically expands storage into Windows Azure Storage and significantly reduces the on-premises storage and management costs. As data grows, additional capacity is allocated from the cloud instead of consuming data center resources.
Built-in data reduction processes also contribute heavily to reducing the impact of data growth. Primary deduplication and compression that occurs early in the data life cycle increase the efficiency of storage whenever data is stored, whether it’s on low-latency SSDs, capacity-oriented HDDs or low-IOPS Windows Azure Storage. The next article would talk about how that efficiency applies to archived data in Microsoft Azure Storage