How To Avoid Wasting Storage — Even with Windows Server 2008 and 2003

Storage is an expensive corporate asset…and storage planning is a task that is never complete.

No one is buying storage space so it can be allocated and unused — but it is estimated that 30%-50% of allocated storage is wasted when using traditional thick provisioning — and if not managed properly, thin provisioning also has a huge potential to waste storage space.

“Given the time and difficulty involved in reclaiming space, there are probably millions of terabytes of storage taking up space on SANs across corporate America.”

Raxco CEO Bob Nolan has an article featured in HP’s Connect Converge e-zine this month where he discusses how thick and thin provisioning affect storage efficiency, including a run-down of the available options for reclaiming SAN storage space.

Download Whitepaper: Intelligent Space Reclamation in Thin-Provisioned Environments

A Problem for Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Users

Existing manual reclaim tools (like SDelete) and methods (zero-fill and SCSI UNMAP) have their own limitations on efficiency for all users, but especially for organizations using Windows Server 2003 and 2008. The issue of avoiding wasted storage space is more complicated for those organizations that have yet to roll out Windows Server 2012 across their enterprises.

Windows Server 2012 will issue the UNMAP command on large file deletions but it can take a long time for organizations to adopt new server operating system releases. If you’re not already using it, a lot of your storage space can be wasted from now until your eventual Windows Server 2012 rollout.

Windows Server 2003 and 2008 don’t natively issue UNMAP commands, so the space reclamation process is more inefficient for organizations using those operating systems with their SAN storage. Current reclaim methods are manual (i.e., time-consuming), offer no central management, and require downtime for production environments, among other issues.

The status quo is unacceptable. Organizations should be able to readily access information about the status of their storage in order to make more informed storage planning decisions. As Nolan points out:

“Storage is valuable real estate and you should be able to easily recover and recycle it conveniently.”

Automatically Reclaim and Recycle Storage…and Save Big

Fortunately, organizations do have access to one tool that does just that. PerfectStorage was developed by Raxco this spring to provide smarter, more efficient, automated space reclamation on physical SANs and virtual guests using thin provisioning.

In order for PerfectStorage to work in your storage environment, you must be using thin provisioning and your storage solution must support either Zero Detect/Zero-Fill or SCSI UNMAP reclaim technology.

What PerfectStorage provides, that command-line solutions like SDelete do not:

  • A smart, automated reclaim method that only zero-fills or unmaps clusters that have not already been zeroed or unmapped. This is huge for productivity, because it is a much more efficient use of resources, which allows you to…
  • Use PerfectStorage in active production environments — no more downtime during reclaim operations!
  • Drastically cut man-hours formerly dedicated to managing manual reclaim operations with command-line utilities! Just think about how much time you spend each week – or month – finding and manually reclaiming wasted free space.
  • No more guesswork when it comes to figuring out how much free space can be reclaimed across your entire enterprise! PerfectStorage automatically scans and reports back to you just how much free space can be reclaimed — and where it all resides — so you can target your reclaim operations more efficiently. (Plus it reports back to you how much space was reclaimed after the reclaim operation is complete).
  • The ability to delay major storage purchases! Save money, not only in terms of expensive labor, but on expensive storage purchases: maximize existing storage ROI.

Keep Your Thin Provisioned Storage Thin, Automatically: Learn More About PerfectStorage

For more information on thin provisioning, the cost of storage recovery and space reclamation options, Download Whitepaper: Intelligent Space Reclamation in Thin-Provisioned Environments

Category: PerfectStorageStorage