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RMM Still Has A Ways To Go
According to Harding, while early efforts have been encouraging, remote management services haven't entirely arrived just yet. Networking and its management have typically been viewed as hands-on in-house activities, and device and resource management have followed suit. "As networking and storage have become essential business processes, improving efficiency and convenience have developed as key concerns, and the response has been RMM services," he says.
Harding believes that as a subset of storage management, RMM still needs to further develop tools and processes and continue to make the business case for the value of RMM. This won't be hard to do, he says, predicting that RMM will become increasingly critical for effective storage management as issues such as active management, ILM, data classification, and regulatory compliance requirements get addressed.
The primary objectives of managed services are to provide enterprises with improved availability, higher use, and better management of their storage infrastructures. However, according to Gartner, the demand thus far for remote monitoring and management services hasn't been as strong as it could be. So why don't enterprises consider storage RMM services as important as network monitoring and management services?
Lallier says RMM may not be desirable to many large enterprises that tend to be conservative and reluctant to turn over such a critical part of their operations. "The best candidates for early adoption may be the medium to small enterprises that don't have existing expertise in managing the large storage systems that they are now investing in," he says. He also believes that once the model has been proven with early adopters, larger enterprises will be more comfortable adopting these services.
Hadipour says that one of the key challenges for RMM acceptance is that it has been largely tied into hardware platforms. "Storage infrastructure is complex on the element level, and much of the value of management is tied to element management, as opposed to the higher-level constructs of enterprise management," he said.
Enterprises thinking about investing in RMM services are concerned about the "soft" benefits of these services. Lallier says that with any service provider, the benefit is to reduce or eliminate the need to train and maintain your own staff and instead rely on the expertise of others. "The point is to have the enterprise concentrate on its core business and to offload anything that requires expertise in non-related areas," he said.
Hadipour says that RMM services can be the enabler toward consolidation and standardization for enterprises, which would have TCO benefits in the long run.
End User Considerations
Hadipour says that looking at RMM is like buying furniture for a house that you havent bought yet. "You need to have a clear idea of your plans and strategy before you select a RMM approach and tools," he says.
Storage trends favor further adoption of RMM, Hadipour says. "The more standardization and heterogeneous SANs that are deployed, the more likely it is that RMM storage services will be successful," he says.
Lallier says turning over a critical function to an outside provider is never an easy decision to make. To Lallier, the critical factor for the enterprise is to identify a service provider that meets their criteria for success, responsiveness and security for their type of environment. The service provider must understand that each organization is unique in its processes, infrastructure and needs. And organizations must make sure that they are only acquiring the services they need.
"RMM is not in the same class as food services or maintenance facilities, but for companies that do not concentrate on technology as their core business, it's no different than going to an outside provider for accounting or telemarketing services," he said.
Harding believes that RMM will continue to develop and mature, both technologically and from a business standpoint. "As storage management remains a crucial part of business operations, and as it grows increasingly complex and complicated, RMM is destined to take on greater importance to a business' functioning and to its bottom line," he concluded.