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Anyone who has ever had to add new storage to a SAN understands the time and effort involved; therefore, a storage system must be intelligent enough to automate the task of ensuring that storage capacity is always available. And one of the ways to do this is through dynamic provisioning.

"Provisioning is one of those complicated, time consuming tasks that requires database experts working with SAN experts, security experts, OS experts and network experts," says Bradley. He says that typically, such things take on the order of many days or weeks and many expensive people involved. "However, he continued, If it were possible to automate this, the cost savings would be very significant."

According to Eicher, dynamic provisioning takes things a step further than virtualization, though it often requires virtualization or some kind of network-based management to work optimally. "With dynamic provisioning, rather than manually managing storage, organizations create storage policies that are automatically implemented by software," says Eicher.

Organizations are continuing to expand storage area networks as part of their ongoing efforts to consolidate infrastructure and improve business continuity and disaster recovery plans, as the recovery of critical information can mean the difference between success and failure. However, it is difficult at best for IT departments to keep all of the applications, processes, and components updated. So, how can IT departments track all the changes that occur in a network?

Page 4: Topology-guided Recovery

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