Director of IT operations, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., New York

Information technology managers want the benefits of new storage technologies, but several interviewed at the Storage Decisions conference here last week said a lack of time and management support for such projects are stifling those aspirations. My problem is we’re too busy. Every year, we put storage resource management on the budget, and every year, it just falls off.Edwin Alsberg>Text

Some users said they haven’t even had the time or support needed to create a cost-benefit model for storage resource management and tiered storage management projects.

“My problem is we’re too busy. Every year, we put storage resource management on the budget, and every year, it just falls off,” said Edwin Alsberg, director of IT operations at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. in New York.

John Strano, manager of capacity and performance management at Pfizer Inc. in New York, said IT managers in general don’t have time to deploy sophisticated data management tools, “let alone get the value out of them.”

Strano said he has developed a plan for a tiered storage infrastructure with six levels ranging from high-end primary to secondary storage to network-attached storage. But Strano said that so far, he has deployed only three levels because he’s so busy.

No Time to Model

An impromptu electronic survey of about 500 users at the conference by sponsor TechTarget found that 66% don’t have time to put together a basic cost model or a data value model for an information life-cycle management project. Twenty-eight per cent said they can’t build out a tiered storage cost model, and only 8% have completed work on an ILM strategy.

In another conference survey, 69% of the respondents said they receive some executive support but no ongoing support for projects, 22% said they receive no management support, and 9% said they get all the management support they need.

Richard Scannell, vice president of corporate development at GlassHouse Technologies Inc., a consulting firm in Framingham, Mass., said IT officials may have more success in gaining management backing for projects when proposals detail probable effects on the business.

Craig Taylor, associate director of open systems at Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc., said he did gain management support as his unit built out a five-tier storage infrastructure that has eliminated regular daily backups to tape and greatly reduced power consumption in his data center.

Taylor said IT should provide management with simple lines of reasoning for supporting projects. “Look at it from the application level – e-mail, regulatory reports, Word documents,” he said.

The archival tier of the exchange’s storage infrastructure is made up of a relatively inexpensive ATA array from Copan Systems Inc. in Longmont, Colo., that stores 228TB in a 10-square-foot area, freeing up space in the data center and using far less electricity than a traditional midtier disk array or a tape silo.

The new array has increased backup and restore rates by 228% compared with the exchange’s old tape silo, Taylor said.

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