We are gathering more and more data all the time. There's no end in sight, and even as storage becomes more dense and cheaper per GB, we are needing more and more of it all the time. I saw a note recently that estimated in 2011 we gathered 1.8ZB worldwide. Not TB, not PB, but ZB. That is crazy. There are estimates that say some industries have more data per company than the US Library of Congress.
Our own databases are constantly growing, and even though many of them are relatively small, we keep multiple copies of the data. We have production, we have test, we have multiple development copies. Some companies have UAT, some have customer service environments. Overall, we may have a lot of data in our companies that's redundant, but necessary.
Managing all this storage can be a hassle for DBAs. It can be a pain for developers that need more drives for their environments. It can lead to arguments with SAN adminstrators for those servers that need additional storage to match production. Time becomes a factor as well when looking to restore, copy, move, or just query the systems.
An obvious solution is compression. There is data compression built into SQL Server, which works well in some data distributions. Third party products exist to compress backups, or even whole databases. Virtual restores can eliminate the need to have enough space for a backup and the data expanded in an MDF. There are solutions out there, and often they can return a very strong ROI against their costs.
If you have a storage crunch, take a look at the various third party products out there. You might something that makes your job easier, and perhaps even gets the SAN administrator to smile.
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