In the perfect world, a data center would have a single storage system. One that would provide high performance and high capacity in a single platform that doesn’t take up much data center floor space. Ideally, this system would be reliable enough that it could back itself up to an even more cost-effective storage tier but one that is again part of the same system.
Unfortunately, the data center is not a perfect world. It has to respond constantly to new and often unexpected requests, and “throwing hardware” at the problem seems like the fastest way to appease the demand, especially in the new “agile” data center. As a result, there is more storage sprawl in the modern data center than ever. But the data center should not give up on the consolidation dream. In fact, the need to respond quickly is all the more reason to invest in a consolidated architecture, but that architecture has to meet certain requirements so that the data center does not have to compromise its agility.
What Causes Storage Sprawl?
Most data centers end up with multiple storage systems so that they can address the “need of the day”. Typically, the original storage system is inflexible and can’t adapt to these new demands on performance or capacity. At the same time, the IT staff is stretched too thin and does not have the time to focus on finding a particular storage system to meet the needs of the entire data center. As a result, they are susceptible to believing the claims of the last vendor in the door.