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The storage requirements of a BI solution

Find out how to estimate the storage requirements of a business intelligence BI solution, including how to calculate disk size by multiplying the raw disk, which is only one factor in storage requirements.

Are there any standard formulas that can be used to guesstimate the storage requirements of a BI solution over its lifetime?

It's not possible to accurately guesstimate for over a lifetime because after your BI solution goes into production,...

there are many things that may or may not happen that would add, potentially tremendously, to the storage requirements. Things such as the need for additional history data, new uses of the data, new subject areas, new source systems, new business rules that expand data, new needs for indexes, summary tables and cubes, the need to add tiers to the architecture, etc.

You can, however, estimate the disk size of any effort by multiplying the raw disk (operational data) that will be sourced by a "take up" factor of 3-6. This accounts for system overhead, indexes, summary tables, wasted space, temp space, etc. You can see on the TPC DSS benchmarks (www.tpc.org) that they take up by anywhere from 3-8. If you needed that 99th percentile of performance, you might use 8, but usually 4, or thereabouts, is sufficient.

Raw disk is only one factor in your storage requirements. If your access requirements, your downtime requirements, or your number of concurrent users is very different from the "norm" for your size, then adjust your storage requirements accordingly. Also, some DBMS technologies, such as Teradata, don't require as much storage as others. And technologies like Sybase IQ do vast compression on storage.

I recommend that you estimate your size for the next 2-3 years, monitor storage usage and plan to add storage when it becomes needed.

For more information, check out searchCRM's Best Web Links on Intro to BI.

This was last published in November 2001

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