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Translating SANMATs into Enterprise Benefits
Getting a handle on how a SANMAT impacts Total Cost of Storage Ownership (TCSO) requires an extensive examination of how it affects costs. Costs are divided into three major areas:
- Infrastructure Costs: Acquisition costs of SAN and network hardware and software, as well as labor (IT staff and third party) costs for integration and software customization.
- Operational Costs: Administrative (labor) costs associated with asset tracking, performance monitoring, problem resolution and maintenance.
- Risk-related Costs: Operating profit impact relating to network response time (especially with eCommerce applications) and productivity impact due to network degradations, plus the cost of downtime contributions.
The challenge in discerning the contribution of a SANMAT lies directly in measuring the incremental value that is provided in each of the preceding cost areas. This is because the areas of cost reduction apply, for the most part, to the complementary parts of the SAN solution (i.e. other layers of storage management software and the hardware infrastructure itself).
Measuring ROI with a SANMAT
Each enterprise that evaluates a SAN management solution has a unique set of both technical and enterprise requirements. Assessing the potential ROI for any set of circumstances should become a standardized practice with a SANMAT. Diverse clients with diverse needs are among many end-users who make software decisions based on quantifiable enterprise benefits.
Projecting cost savings can be a daunting assignment, especially with so many variables in the ROI equation. Many enterprises are now able to accurately project the ROI they could expect from a SAN solution. This is because SANMATs can gather the important data points in a well-organized process and then present the benefits in a clear and logical format.
Finally, IT professionals can now make more informed decisions regarding their short-term and long-term storage strategies -- especially with all of the data that is readily available. There's also a degree of uncertainty for each variable, as with any financial forecast. In other words, to see how sensitive the results are to changes in variable values, a SANMAT dynamically allows users to examine "what if" scenarios. Thus, important decisions regarding SAN management software can be justified with a high degree of confidence by using a SANMAT.
After the solution has been deployed, a SANMAT can be used to verify that the enterprise benefits derived from SAN management software are indeed in line with projections. The value that an enterprise can realize goes beyond that which is measured by a SANMAT. Although difficult to quantify, intangible benefits such as increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, improved competitive advantage, better administrator morale, retention, and productivity are important factors as well.