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De-duplication and thin provisioning are among the preferred techniques that can help you maximize your storage usage substantially. In de-duplication, removal of redundant data helps you reclaim more server space.

In thin provisioning, the storage administrator allocates mere “logical storage” to an application. Technically, the physical memory is released only when a “write” operation is performed in File System.

Thin reclamation for expensive tier 1 and 2 storage

Upon deletion of files, the resultant empty storage is automatically (and periodically) reclaimed by the File System, and is added to the common storage pool.

This automatic reclamation also enables you to maximize the utilization of expensive tier 0, 1 and 2 storage media.

Along with reclamation, “Automated Tiering” of data allows you to move non-critical data from expensive tier 0/1 media to economical tier 2/3 storage.

For example, “Easy Tier” for IBM System Storage® DS8700 and “3PAR Adaptive Optimization” software.

Thin provisioning is not one-size-fits-all solution

It’s about applying the technology in the right way. And for thin provisioning, understanding of “data growth projection” and constant monitoring of underlying storage resources are critical parameter of your thin provisioning strategy. You need to fine-tune data usage threshold levels, so that resource exhaustion alerting is accurate and timely.

Ability to forecast the application data usage trajectory also enables you to spare storage from the storage pool for other applications.

Thin provisioning is, after all, about utilizing more than you have at your disposal (much like credit cards). What if all your applications need storage at once?

Resource exhaustion is not uncommon, and it is up to the administrator’s discretion to keep an optimum balance of efficient storage utilization and application availability.

Virtualization has put a lot of pressure on storage – you can instantly create VMs with configurable storage. The gold images of VMs are created with much more storage than needed (and they remain underutilized). Of course, thin provisioning, in such scenario, a great tool to increase storage utilization.

Use proper storage allotment policies

You need tools that can compare logically allocated storage with the actual available storage space and can validate current storage allocation.

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