The ROI of Tape Consolidation

The business world is tightening purse strings in our current economic climate, forcing IT organisations to do more with flat budgets. Many have turned to virtualisation and consolidation of servers, storage and other components throughout the data centre as a solution to reducing costs.

The amount of data companies store is growing exponentially says Rudi Jansen van Vuuren, Quantum Africa Country Manager. “According to IDC, worldwide disk storage systems capacity is expected to more than double every two years, growing at a compound annual rate of nearly 53% from 2007 to 2012. However, data growth is unpredictable, which makes it difficult to develop the perfect capacity plan. As a result, organisations tend to over-provide on capacity to ensure that they have adequate disk storage resources available at all times.”

At the same time, IT budgets have remained virtually flat. According to Gartner, IT spending in 2010 was 1.1% greater than 2009, but this followed a reduction in IT budgets of 8.1% for 2009. “This means IT must do more with the same budget by operating more efficiently,” says Rudi.

By using tape consolidation with partitioning, deduplication and replication as well as upgrading tape backup technology; Organisations can achieve the following benefits from consolidating their tape backup libraries:

  1. Reduce data centre floor space by 90% using fewer tape backup units to store the same amount of data.
  2. Lower power consumption by 63% and cooling costs by 64% through the use of less hardware and data centre space.
  3. Cut administrative time by more than 70% by reducing the amount of hardware to be administered in addition to using more efficient management technology.
  4. Substantially slash media costs.

Server virtualisation allows multiple virtual machines, which may each run different operating systems and applications, to operate on a single physical machine, sharing server resources. Storage virtualisation adds an abstraction layer of software that hides physical storage devices from the user and allows all storage devices to be managed as a single pool. Virtualisation technology can therefore dynamically allocate server hardware or storage resources when and where they are needed so that the highest priority applications always have the resources they need without the need to provide excess capacity at peak times.

Because virtualisation enables IT to consolidate workloads onto fewer physical devices, it reduces hardware acquisition and maintenance costs, improves hardware utilisation, and cuts energy consumption, says Rudi. “By identifying over provisioned servers or storage devices and better utilisation of unused resources, IT can defer investment in new resources. By reducing the number of servers and storage devices that must be administered, virtualisation allows IT organisations to devote more time to other projects and priorities,” explains Rudi.

As with server and storage virtualisation and consolidation, tape consolidation with partitioning allows IT to use tape backup resources more efficiently and cost effectively. “When an organisation consolidates their tape backup solutions, they often refresh their technology at the same time. The resulting increase in capacity allows customers to reduce their library footprint, saving the costs of floor space and application licensing. The reduction in the amount of media required ultimately adds substantial additional cost savings,” concludes Rudi.

The many benefits of consolidation within the data centre are leading numerous enterprises to adopt this strategy. According to a recent report by the Enterprise Strategy Group, data centre consolidation is the third most important overall IT initiative anticipated over the next 12-18 months for enterprise class firms.

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The ROI of Tape Consolidation