When the money dries up, print some more
It might sound like I am encouraging you to commit a federal crime but trust me, I don’t want you to go to jail. What I do want to do is help you identify ways to take advantages of inefficiencies in your current storage environment that will let you discover hidden pockets of money that can be used more wisely.
First, it is important to understand that if your organization has imposed budget restriction on you that have essentially meant that your money has all but dried up, there are things that you can do to continue spending. The only real exception to this might be a situation where you find ways to cut costs and rather than being allowed to reallocate those funds you are merely praised for helping to improve the bottom line. Either way, you are either going to find money that you can spend, hopefully, more wisely or your are going to be hailed as a hero – it’s win-win situation.
How do you get started?
To get started you need to gain a good understanding of your data storage environment. Some questions to help you are:
- How many tape drives do I have?
- How many hours per day are those tape drives in use?
- How much money do I spend on those drives on a monthly basis?
- How much money do I spend vaulting tape media?
- Do I have existing bandwidth and connectivity to a remote facility that I could use for electronic vaulting?
These are only a handful of the questions that you might ask but this should give you the basic idea. The important thing here is to understand your assets and the extent to which they are being fully utilized today.
Once you understand how well your assets are being utilized you can begin to ask the question, how can I improve current asset utilization? You may also want to look for products that can help you in this pursuit. Backup Virtualization software such as Enterprise DistribuTape (EDT) provides an excellent opportunity to dramatically improve the utilization of Tier 2 / 3 tape assets. Equally, Backup Virtualization products offer the further benefit of decoupling your tape hardware from your backup application meaning you can make changes to your physical tape resources without negatively impacting your backup application. Of course, this means that you have to ask another question and this is where printing money starts to become a reality.
If you were able to fully utilize all of your tape drives and ensure optimal data transfer rates on a regular basis, would you end up having an excessive number of tape drives? What might the elimination of even a handful of your current tape drives mean to your administrative and annual cost overheads?
For most people, the answer can be startling. It is not uncommon to see a reduction in the number of tape drives that is required upwards of 25%. How much money would you save if you could decommission 25% of your existing tape drives? How much money would you have just printed to be able to invest elsewhere?
How about your existing IP network? Is there bandwidth that could be used to remotely replicate data to one of your other facilities? How much money would you save in being able to eliminate your tape vaulting service? Enterprise DistribuTape enables you to control and consolidate tape resource across your entire environment making remote data vaulting simple. So, not only are you gaining reductions in tape hardware and better utilizing existing Tier 2 / 3 tape assets but you are now able to fully utilize your existing network. Operational capabilities go up, costs from maintaining a complex infrastructure go down.
And this, then, is really the point. If there are inefficiencies in the way that you are using your existing assets you are spending money but in such a fashion as to suggest that you might as well be burning it. When organizations take away your ability to burn any more money, rather than getting upset, see it as an opportunity to find money by addressing those inefficiencies. And, while it will take some of your time to go through the necessary analysis, I can almost guarantee that you won’t regret it. After all, the likelihood is that you are going to find ways to save your company money and that money will be either available to reinvest elsewhere or simply make you a hero for improving the bottom line.
- Being in business means spending money. The question is are you spending efficiently?
- Most business have too many assets that aren’t being used efficiently and this costs them more money than need be
- Eliminating inefficiencies saves money (and time) and gives you the ability to make investments elsewhere
- Backup Virtualization is an area in which investment should be considered because it leads to efficiency