Steve Kovsky continues his look at virtualization technology

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the sound of belts tightening. The dreary economic forecast has IT departments across the country and around the globe looking for every imaginable way to cut corners and reduce costs without reducing services and support. It’s a tough equation – some would say impossible.

The emphasis on cutting costs is one reason why data center consolidation and virtualization are experiencing a surge of popularity.  An Intel whitepaper posted a few days ago underscores the amount of savings that can be had by using virtualization to optimize just one prominent IT cost center: storage management.

At Intel’s current run rate for racking up the terabytes, the company estimates that its storage requirements would balloon to 90 petabytes of data by 2012, a 450% increase over 2007 levels. By 2014 that could grow to encompass 165 petabytes of data. However, by virtualizing its storage area networks and network attached storage resources, combined with techniques such as fabric unification, storage tiering, thin provisioning and de-duplication, Intel experts reckon they can whittle that number down by a whopping 27 percent over the next five years.

Much like server virtualization, storage virtualization allows multiple systems to share common physical resources. In this case, it’s a single storage device. According to Intel engineers, “Virtualized storage environments make it practical to re-tier storage and migrate data among virtual storage machines with relative ease.”  The cost savings come from not only reducing the physical footprint of a company’s storage assets, but also through increased utilization and scalability, greater access to multivendor sourcing, and simplified IT management. Increased business agility can also provide a positive impact on the company’s bottom line, making the enterprise better able to respond to shifting market opportunities and customer requirements. Add to that the direct effects of reduced headcount and energy costs, and you are looking at some serious savings.

To read more on virtualization, head on over to IBM’s Server Virtualization website.

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