4. Rethink storage network decisions. When you need high performance and availability, Fibre Channel isn't the only option. Alternatives that can sometimes provide both lower cost and meet performance needs include iSCSI, the Network File System (NFS) protocol, and direct-attached storage, Reichman writes.
Oracle and VMware are throwing "their hat into the NFS ring," he says, noting that more applications are supporting NFS as a way to connect servers to storage. Direct-attached storage is also a good alternative when the benefits of centralized networked storage are limited, such as when each storage device is dedicated to one application.
"While these options might not make sense for every application or every environment, cost-conscious firms should take a good, hard look at their storage network decisions and give some consideration to [these] approaches," Reichman writes.
5. Use a tiering methodology that delivers results simply. Every cost-control strategy requires an up-front investment of time or money, but for some the ROI happens quickly. Tiering, on the other hand, has to be viewed as a long-term strategy because you won't realize savings right away. For many users, the complexity of tiered storage has outweighed cost savings, but that doesn't mean it can't be effective.
"If tiering means buying a wholly separate platform in addition to the tier one infrastructure, it can take years to realize any benefit," Reichman notes. "By shifting investments you would already have made to lower tiers instead, you can realize cost avoidance."
Because of the down economy, more businesses are putting data on tier two storage right from the beginning, and only promoting it to tier one if the performance is unacceptable, he writes. "Buying cheaper, dense disks in the systems you already own makes sense for tiering without the added cost of a separate platform," Reichman writes. "Remember to keep it simple and consistent -- having too many tiers and options makes it hard to manage the environment, which can negatively impact cost savings."