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Most data and storage area network (SAN) management solutions today are piecemeal, partial solutions to an increasingly complex problem. Compatibility problems persist and clear management standards have not emerged. The result is an array of point products from multiple vendors, some of which do not work well by themselves and most of which do not work well together. Managed storage networks go beyond the benefits of simple storage area networks (SANs), storage consolidation, and centralized management. They are dynamic SANs that provide intelligent, automatic, and proactive management capabilities.
Implementing a dynamic SAN without powerful storage management software is like taking two steps backward to go three steps forward. SANs, or fabric-attached storage, hold the promise of bringing significant business benefits to any enterprise, and, like any other paradigm shift in technology, they require a substantial financial investment in the process. It is intuitive to most information technology (IT) professionals that SANs have the potential to alleviate many of the storage-related problems that plague today's IT enterprises, including:
- Averting downtime-related risks,
- Containing upward spiraling acquisition and personnel costs,
- Increasing requirements for better quality of service, and
- Managing capacity growth.
The Return on Investment (ROI) can be quite compelling, and true enterprise benefits can be realized almost immediately when a SAN is designed to address these issues. This is why today's IT decision makers must base their SAN strategies not on a solution's technical merits but instead on its ability to deliver a positive and compelling ROI. With the preceding in mind, this article provides a high-level overview of the factors of ROI for SAN software and how the ROI may be predicted and analyzed.