By Reid Smith-Vaniz

You’re ready to replace an existing array with a new one to get more capacity, better performance or both. What should you do with the soon-to-be legacy array? Here are five options.

1. Backup to disk. 

According to Storage Magazine, 66 percent of organizations are implementing a backup-to-disk solution. There are many software vendors that offer solutions to manage this process, including VMWare, VizionCore, CommVault and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. You can choose to back up your mission-critical or hard-to-backup applications to disk instead of to tape, which means faster backups and restores. It gives you confidence that if an issue arises, you can recover quickly. 

2. Convert to a Tier 2 storage platform. 

Use the legacy array for Tier 2 storage for applications that don’t require as high a level of performance. You can swap out current drives for larger or different types of drives. For instance, you can pull out existing 146GB Fibre Channel drives and put in 1TB drives

and make the array into a totally different box. Or, you might have a legacy array that’s half-populated. Simply by adding more trays or shelves, you can turn it into an ideal solution for Tier 2 storage or one of the other options.

3. Move it to DR. 

Make the array an element in your Disaster Recovery solution. Because there are different ways to move data between your primary location and your DR location, you might not need array-based replication, where the arrays have to talk to each other. You could instead use host-based replication, which may eliminate the need to have a like-for-like DR box at your remote location.

4. Trade it in or sell it. 

Depending on the system, it can have some remaining value. A reseller like Reliant is most interested in buying systems with larger capacity drives, like 300GB and 450GB Fibre Channel and FAS drives, and 1TB and 2TB SATA drives. Those will have the highest trade-in or credit value. Keep in mind, though, that any system might have trade-in value.

5. Make it a test/dev box. 

You can swap drives out and turn the array an ideal fit for a test/development environment. A test/dev environment is great insurance for developers. Many companies don’t have one, or have only a production environment and sufficient extra capacity for testing on only one critical application. If you choose this option—or any of the others that involve keeping the array—remember that you can buy third-party support for the array. A partner like Reliant can provide support options that can be more economical than what’s available from manufacturers.

We’d like your expertise. How have you been able to reuse your legacy gear?