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Rules-based storage management takes hold
With the ability to pool resources together over fast IP networks or Fibre Channel, the blurring of NAS and SAN through the use of iSCSI networks, and the merging of modular and monolithic technology, the need for highly intelligent rules/policy-based storage software will gain importance in 2003. You will see storage software that is smart enough to allocate storage resources in the SAN based on connection method or policies based on classes of applications. A set of rules or policies can be created by storage administrators or implemented as knowledge modules within the software itself. Storage resources will start to be pooled and sorted by class and capability.
As an example, each storage device may be classed or typed according to the attributes associated with it. A typical storage resource may be defined by how many MBps or I/Ops it can provide. The different resources may then be consolidated into storage pools, with the pool assigned a budget of I/Ops and MBps. As applications are added to the SAN, the application will be assigned the I/Ops and MBps required by the application automatically, based on the rules set forth for that application type in the policy software, and the assigned amount will then be deducted from the budget.
Storage resources will become more solution oriented, and application-centric. More intelligence will be added to the storage network, so that applications can be assigned storage resources based on best practice policy. Different storage solutions may be assigned attributes based on:
- Physical connections
- Assignable RAID types
- Reliability quotient
Other attributes may also be assigned, that determine whether a certain storage type is more suited to certain applications. These include:
- Streaming media (fast, high throughput)
- Database (high IOPS)
- Decision support (high throughput)
- Mail messaging (mixed workload)
- Backup (cheap but reliable)
- File/print (high capacity, NAS capable)
These attributes will have to be able to be dynamically discovered by the intelligent storage software running in the network, so that as applications are added, the application gets the storage resources that are best suited to it.
Storage becomes more application focused
You will also begin to see vendors offer point solutions, mostly in the modular space, that are per-built using best practice methodology, and certified for specific application environments. This will be driven by the need for customers to roll out applications to remote offices, or implement solutions faster than they have been able to in the past.
In short, 2003 will be a great year for the storage sector, and for customers to start to fully realize the advantages of networked storage solutions.
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This was first published in December 2002