The Basics of SAN Implementation, Part I Page 3
Bi-Directional Impact of the SAN Implementation Topology
A complex undertaking can be designing and implementing some SAN topologies. Before any topology is decided upon, it is important that organizational structure, people skills, and teaming options are well defined. The project will fail if a complex SAN (complex from the point of view that advanced management skills and processes are required) is implemented into an organization that cannot sustain the technology. When deciding on the topology to deploy, a critical analysis of the internal workings of the organization is essential. Also, when defining the new storage management/SAN team, this same analysis is needed.
SAN Implementation Core Team Skills and Team Dynamics
In order to engineer and administer SANs and pooled storage, most first-generation SAN implementers have experimented with the people and skills that are necessary. Therefore, in order to test, certify, design, install, and integrate the components, the life cycle of an advanced storage architecture project will call for a variety of teaming arrangements. Initial team arrangements used for proof-of-concept and SAN implementation programs may or may not evolve into the longer-term storage team. Thus, the organization's final determination of the storage team may be influenced by the internal lessons learned from the inception of a SAN/NAS project.
Core Storage Team and Skills
There should be a broad range of IT operational skills represented in the storage team, both in the core or nucleus team and in the ancillary team members who will participate in the SAN management role. Candidates for the core team could come from among network managers, database administration (DBA) teams, Windows NT systems administrators, Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS) operations staff, or MVS storage managers. A variety of skills, disciplines, and best-practice knowledge will be essential for the initial formation of the team. Many organizations use the creation of a SAN team as a reward to retain key personnel who are looking for more technical challenges in their career.
The value and importance of the storage pool is amplified with storage and data centralization. Since storage can now be accessed by various servers in many parts of the world, operational coverage will most likely change. For global enterprises, traditional "9-5" staff control and operations is not sufficient. Essential for 24/7 monitoring and administration, is the consideration for automation and SAN tools that are integrated with the central operation.
Now, let's look at the steady-state storage organization. This organization level occurs after the advanced storage system has been tested, certified, and installed, and the basic integration functions have been completed.
Storage Team Roles and Responsibilities
Most end users rely on the storage vendor or systems integrator to get the environment up and running and operating in a relatively stable manner. It is at this point that a storage team needs to be ready for the long-term operation and control of the storage architectures.
As a whole, the exact fit and application depends on the maturity and flexibility of the enterprise and IT department. When assembling a new storage team, these functional areas can be considered as segments to pick and choose from.
Within the enterprise, good practices and operational procedures may already be in place. These good practices and operational procedures are similar to those often found in mainframe groups.
Many successful SAN implementation teams have adopted formal processes and procedures from IT network management groups. Best practices do not need to be started from scratch for the storage team. The best practices must be borrowed and modified from other mature IT areas within the enterprise.