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Best practices for moving data files to a SAN

In a few weeks our SAN will be operational, and we have to move our data files to it. Basically, we are just copying a past action from server to LUN, but I wonder if there are additional considerations in order to upgrade performance, such as I/O matters, backup strategies, log files, log shipping, disaster management, etc.

I'd also like to know how to handle the OLAP environment that is based on our OLTP database, and how to deal with existing high availability clusters.

Do you have a "best practice" on these issues? Microsoft and Dell are telling me about the technical specifications, but I'm more interested in the operational part. (I'm just the DBA -- not one of the network guys.) We are using SQL Server 2000 SP3a/Windows 2000 servers.

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Have you spent any time on the Microsoft, Dell, and other vendor's Web sites reading through their various documents and papers on tips and recommendations? You should be able to find information beyond basic technical specifications including how to actually perform various tasks and suggested best practices and tips.

There are many things that you could do and a few that you need to do. For example, you need to make sure that your data is copied from its source to its destination and verify the integrity of the new destination before removing the original source. You also need to make sure that your backup and recovery procedures are updated to include the destination of the migrated data and to verify that the backups are working properly. You should also randomly audit one of your backups and restore to an alternate location to verify that your backups are valid.

Not knowing your specific configuration and environment, it would be a guess as to what else should or could be done to enhance performance. However, you could start by looking for any signs of bottlenecks, including jobs that are taking longer to run than before, and device and I/O contention, using either server tools or storage management tools. You should also update your documentation and disaster recovery plan information to reflect any changes to your environment. There are many other items that perhaps can be covered in a future SearchStorage.com tip. In the meantime, if you have not done so, check-out the SearchStorage.com SAN School and other webcasts covering many of the topics you mention. Of course, I'll suggest that you read my book Resilient Storage Networks as well as those from fellow SearchStorage.com experts for best practices and tips.

Read Christopher Poelker's answer to this question.

This was first published in December 2004

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