Storage controllers no longer last for years but months: VMtech

Infrastructure services firm finds that local storage needs are growing due to virtualisation and mapping

Storage controllers that would usually last for years end up becoming full in months. VMtech director, Len Findlay attributes this to more being put on the disk than before.

Not only are servers increasingly being stored these days, but adding to the storage footprint is virtualised applications within the VMs.

“In councils and local governments, we’re putting in controllers that would normally keep the going for three to five years,” Findlay said.

“But within 9 to 12 months we’re talking to them about upgrading those controllers.”

Whether it is bringing mapping systems onto the data set or delivering more public services, Findlay said storage needs are “going through the roof.”

While Virtualisation is driving growth, Findlay adds that geographic information system (GIS) mapping is the other big contributor, particularly with some local councils moving into that space.

“We had to do a serious upgrade of one particular council in order to implement a mapping project,” he said.

As for whether it is the capacity or the I/O capabilities of storage that is being maxed out, Findlay said it is both.

Scale-out NAS is technically able to allow capacity to be upgraded simply by simply adding disks at controllers, with an upper limit in the range of 27 trillion petabytes on solutions offered by vendors such as IBM.

However, when it comes to putting storage controllers in, scale-out NAS or not, budget constraints come into play.

“When you look at scale out NAS and other similar types of solutions, people are having to look at controller upgrades to do that,” Findlay said.

“Some of the legacy systems may not run them.”

New problem, old methods

To give a sense of how data is growing CommVault worldwide sales senior vice-president, Ron Miiller, said that any business typically has half a petabyte of data stored and above.

The problem then stems from the business using historically older methods to try and figure out how to backup, protect and manage that data.

“They keep throwing money at point solutions that are solving the symptom of the problem, but they are not solving the root,” Miiller said.

Businesses are also not proactively building a strategy because they lack tools.

“This data gets created but its life should only be so long in the organisation, because at some point it stops adding value,” Miiller said.

Since companies are busy trying to keep up with the pace of growth, they end up “throwing money” at a storage device, and whether it is front or back end dedup or how to get the data off-site.

This then means they are not focusing on putting together a long term approach to solving the date growth problem.

“Putting on one bandaid after another has worked to this point, but they are now running out of datacentre floorspace, power and time,” Miiller said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.