Storage and Its Impact on Enterprise Viability Page 2


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Strategies and Best Practices for Promoting Effective Storage Management

Another key issue to consider is which strategies and best practices best promote effective storage.

According to Bob Guilbert, vice president of marketing and business development at NSI Software, a basic starting point that many companies fail to consider is simply taking into account the company's actual storage needs as related to its overall business goals and requirements.

“Dynamically matching a given application with the correct pool of storage based on cost, capacity, and performance needs will help IT managers maximize their investment.”

Kevin Wittmer, Maxtor

“By first assessing their business needs with regard to availability, manageability, scalability, and regulatory requirements, IT managers can determine what the acceptable service levels are for their business and their customers,” says Guilbert. “Once this information has been gathered, it should be used to determine the hardware, software, application solutions, and processes needed to ensure all service levels and legal requirements are adhered to.”

This planning strategy, according to Guilbert, can help ensure that the appropriate solutions are deployed and prevent overspending on unnecessary purchases. “Including ongoing review of these solutions and processes will keep your IT strategies in line with any changes in your business strategies,” he says.

Migrating to SANs

Reducing the number of components in a system leads to more effective management. “In storage, this is achieved by storage consolidation — the process of migrating to a storage area network (SAN) where fewer storage arrays can serve multiple servers and applications,” says EqualLogic's Joseph.

In addition, consolidating storage onto smarter storage systems (e.g., complete, intelligent solutions) reduces management complexity. Ideally, he says individual storage arrays should collaborate with one another to form a single, scalable pool of storage that appears and can be managed as a single storage system — and routine processes, such as provisioning and the addition of new hardware, should be automatic.

Information Lifecycle Management

Maxtor's Wittmer believes that one of the most effective strategies is Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). ILM is a strategy that when implemented with the appropriate storage can reduce storage costs and increase flexibility. Within ILM, says Wittmer, the key is understanding two major principles:

  • Transferring data to different storage resources as it ages and access needs change

  • Assigning data to the least expensive storage possible without compromising service

Wittmer also says that within an ILM framework, there are four pools of storage to account for:

  • On-line, for transactional data
  • Mid-line, for fixed-content data
  • Near-line, for staging and spooling
  • Off-line, for remote site archiving and data recovery

Wittmer believes that dynamically matching a given application with the correct pool of storage based on cost, capacity, and performance needs will help IT managers maximize their investment.

Understanding key storage issues will help IT departments better manage performance and control what goes on so that they can assure the continuous availability and reliability of their storage resources.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. The second part will answer the following questions:

  • With widespread power outages, potential threats of terrorism, and natural disasters fresh on the minds of IT planners, what do IT planners need to do to better protect their organizations? And how can storage vendors help IT planners reach that goal?

  • How can storage vendors help enterprises improve the efficiency and effectiveness of storage management?

  • With competitive pressures from industry deregulation, many businesses are being judged on their business continuance plans more closely than ever before. How can storage vendors help IT planners better position themselves to recover quickly from an unplanned outage or from data corruption?

  • Competency in storage management is a requirement for any IS organization that hopes to provide a cost-effective and highly available environment for an enterprise's critical applications and business processes. What role do storage vendors play in this process?

» See All Articles by Columnist Leslie Wood

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