Acronis Resource Center

TCO Should Include Value as Well as Cost

1. Introduction
2. Disk Management
3. File-Based Backups vs. Images
4. What? No Backup Hardware?
5. Managing Hard Disk Space

Part 5: Managing Hard Disk Space

Applications that allow IT staff to better manage disk space can reduce costs in multiple ways. For example, disk virtualization is becoming more popular in some market segments. Originally, products such as VMware allowed IT managers in large enterprises to create virtual hard disks, but each of these disks required its own licensed operating system and applications. Applications such as Virtuozzo from companies such as SWsoft Inc. (Herndon, VA) provide mainframe-like resource management with full isolation of each partition, allowing an IT manager not only to virtualize the disks, but also to virtualize the operating system. As a result, only one licensed operating system is required per server, not one per virtual disk. The associated costs related to operating system licensing can be staggering, depending on how many virtual and legal copies are created.

But not every company needs to virtualize their disks. If you need just one — or several — operating systems on a single disk drive, you also can use resource management tools that create multiboot systems.

Rather than buying new hardware to test the latest operating systems, some software allows companies to partition their drives and create multiboot systems. By isolating each operating system, users can test new OSes without putting their production data at risk.

While most of the products in this class of multiboot, disk-partitioning software can only boot from one of the four primary partitions on the disk, others allow the user to boot from virtually any partition on the disk, logical or primary. One offers both a manual and an automatic mode, so that disk partitioning can be done either by the technical staff or by non-technical staff. While some company policies will require the IT department to repartition a drive, it's comforting to realize that even non-technical users can repartition a drives should that become necessary. The underlying savings for this class of application runs the gamut from lower hardware costs to employing lower-level technicians to manage the systems resources.

Whether you're considering a disaster recovery application, disk virtualization or other disk management tasks, remember that the real savings aren't just the price you pay, but the value you receive over time.

Stephen Lawton is director of marketing at Acronis, Inc. (San Francisco, CA)

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2004 Westworld Productions Inc.

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