Storage and Its Impact on Enterprise Viability, Part II


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Enterprises are at the mercy of ever-increasing amounts of data that need to be stored and as a result continually require more effective ways to store and maintain this data. This makes it critical for companies across the globe to better understand and address key storage issues.

In part one, we examined some of the pressing issues and technologies in today’s storage environments and how these issues can have a critical impact on the overall business. Part two continues on this theme and explores additional areas where storage technology and management impact enterprise viability.

“Customers generally only change vendors when their existing vendors can’t or aren’t providing the service and/or products they require.”

Bob Guilbert, NSI Software

Understanding storage needs as they relate to business goals and requirements

The basic starting point that many companies fail to consider is to simply understand their actual storage needs as related to their business goals and requirements. According to Bob Guilbert, vice president of marketing and business development at NSI Software, 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.

“Once this information is 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.” Guilbert also says that this planning strategy can help to ensure that the appropriate solutions are deployed as well as prevent overspending on unnecessary purchases.

Implementing better solutions to protect data

With widespread power outages, potential threats of terrorism, and natural disasters fresh on the minds of IT departments, IT planners can better protect their organizations by assessing the logistics associated with disasters and developing a solution that provides the necessary recovery to deliver business continuity. According to John Joseph, vice president, marketing at EqualLogic, Inc., IT planners need to determine which services must be recovered, the maximum time tolerable to recover each service, and how much of the latest record history associated with a service they are willing to lose if a recovery is required.

Joseph points out that since the core protection strategy for data is backup/restore, storage vendors should seek ways to provide better integration of replication technologies with backup and restore. “A sophisticated, automated deployment of replication and snapshot technology with highly flexible user-defined intervals can make restoration to a particular point-in-time easier and resumption of business-as-usual less painful, regardless of the type of failure,” he says.

According to Kevin Wittmer, director of technical marketing at Maxtor Corporation, IT planners can also look at off-site disk-based storage and disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backup solutions as part of their disaster recover plan. “Backing up to disk prior to tape has performance benefits and addresses the problem of shrinking backup windows,” he says. And off-site mirrored storage allows for real-time replication of mission-critical data. Wittmer believes that a key technology for these solutions is the ATA hard drive, as parallel ATA and Serial ATA-based RAID solutions are cost-effective and can improve backup and recovery performance.

Page 2: Vendors Play a Role in Promoting Effective Storage Management Practices

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