From The Expert Feature Article
August 09, 2013

Twin Studies Issue Storage Marching Orders to MSPs

Two storage vendors this week released studies about storage that not only give MSPs results to chew on, but also offer them solid direction.

First up is TwinStrata (News - Alert), Inc., which just released its 2013 Cloud Storage Adoption Survey.

The top level finding is that IT is having increasing difficulty keeping up with storage demands, something we don’t need a survey to tell us.

“Unfortunately, according to Gartner (News - Alert), storage capacity demands are growing 40-60 percent each year, significantly outpacing density growth. As a result, most organizations quickly face capacity demands that outstrip their ability to support that storage on-premises,” the report said. “For the majority of our survey respondents, that reality is already here – three out of every five respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “It seems like we are always running out of storage.”

But MSPs can come to the rescue with cloud solutions that are elastic and therefore scalable. And this table has already been largely set as “more than a third (37 percent) of respondents indicate that they have been using cloud computing for three or more years - an increase of more than a third over last year,” TwinStrata reported.

The cloud is not the most highly used of the cloud services out there, but the adoption rate is expected to go sky high. As of today, 46 percent of respondents are using cloud storage today, but a full 84 percent have plans to do so. And here, scalability is the biggest driver.

The lesson for MSPs? Leverage the need to scale and the interest in cloud storage to start pushing fully managed offerings now.

NTP Weighs in

Precisely the same day that TwinStrata announced its findings, NTP Software came out with a study of its own. Here, NTP focused more on what is actually stored. While TwinStrata found that IT can’t keep up with the data explosion, NTP finds that much of what IT is killing itself to save is junk. “A recent storage assessment survey conducted by NTP Software revealed that 61.6 percent of file data stored on primary storage systems had not been accessed in more than six months, leading to inefficient storage use, ongoing cost expenditures and potential compliance issues,” as stated in the report done for NTP by File Data Management.

Rather than asking a bunch of IT pros a ton of questions, NTP went right to the heart of the matter. “NTP's storage assessment scanned nearly half a billion files totaling more than 300TB of customers' data across a variety of storage environments. Among the information collected during the assessment was data growth over the past five years, last file access dates, consumption by file type and size, duplicate files, monthly activity, empty and corrupt files and directories, and security anomalism,” the vendor explained.

So what did all this sleuthing reveal? “It's staggering to see just how many stale, duplicate and empty files are being kept on expensive primary storage by organizations of every size across a variety of industries,” said Bruce Backa, CEO of NTP Software. “Files that have not been accessed in 6 months or more are prime archiving candidates. Performing an assessment like this can help companies gain insight into understanding details across their entire storage environment – from storage composition to usage trends; the amount of duplicate, abandoned or temporary files are consuming network resources; and potential problems that otherwise might be unknown.”

Here are some specifics on what NTP found:

  • “49 percent of files have not been accessed in more than a year;
  • One third of storage is consumed by less than 0.1 percent of files;
  • Multimedia files (i.e. MP3s, AVIs, etc.) make up 24.2 percent of total file data;
  • PDF files consume the most space;
  • 19.1 percent of data is consumed by duplicate files;
  • There were more than 14 million files with zero file size and nearly 900,000 empty directories; and
  • Average growth rate for file data is between 45 to 60 percent over the past five years.”

The answer, NTP believes, is storage tiering, which of course it offers, arguing that an IT shop can save some 67 percent by archiving.

This is likely true, but good storage management also cleanses old, useless and duplicate data just like throwing away that pants that no longer fit or that four-inch wide tie that only a circus clown would wear.

The lesson for MSPs? Certainly pitch tiered solutions that archive old data on less expensive media, especially the cloud. At the same time go deep, and offer true data management so all this data is put into rational order.

TwinStrata’s Cloud Play

MSP Today in May covered TwinStrata’s latest cloud storage a gambit, offering cloud protection for VMware environments in the form of CloudArray Disaster Recovery as a Service (CloudArray DRaaS).

This is actually a new piece to CloudArray “that delivers seamless disaster recovery (DR) for VMware users on-demand without requiring continuous investment in secondary infrastructure or sites,” the company said.

Meanwhile check out these TMC (News - Alert) TwinStrata videos:

And last year at Cloud Expo, TMC talked to TwinStrata about its cloud approach.

Edited by Rich Steeves