While economies of scale have helped reduce power and cooling costs, other costs related to external storage prove to be more expensive than the storage itself, writes Samantha Sai for storage.biz-news.

A recent IDC report estimates that the total cost to manage the world’s installed base of external storage is around 60 per cent of all storage related spending.

This includes software, power, cooling, administration, personnel and services and excludes the cost of acquisition of the storage.

David Reinsel, group vice president, IDC Storage and Semiconductors research, said that power and cooling costs are not the only costs associated with external storage.

"In fact, in the grand scheme of things, the cost to power and cool external storage pales in comparison with the cost to acquire and manage storage, including the costs for storage software and storage administrators," he said.

In the context of the economic meltdown IDC’s study comes as a stark reminder that the costs to power, cool and manage enterprise storage must be scrutinized in detail.

It is also important to calculate the total cost of managing the world’s installed base of external storage.

It is a fact that for every dollar spent on storage hardware, managers will spend three dollars for managing the stored information.

There is an urgent and growing pressure to change assumptions around the adoption of more efficient storage technologies.

The report asserts that the focus on energy reduction technologies is a must and firms must recognize the full extent of firms’ overheads.

Storage management must be recognized as the key issue in today’s exploding data environment.

Hundred terabyte and even petabyte sites are not uncommon and managers must look beyond the traditional methods of storing and securing critical corporate information.

They should appreciate that deduplication, compression and thin provisioning have low penetration but high costs in terms of power and cooling.

Advances in storage hardware and software have made solutions, like Hierarchical Storage management, archiving and disk grooming and automation, attractive.

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