Q

Data storage architecture

I have been asked to pull together a questionnaire that will help determine what our 20 different business units data storage requirements are. The analysis of the questionnaire should help determine what common data storage architecture we should head towards (e.g., SAN, NAS, hybrid). Can you recommend any white paper/articles that can help me in this task?

I can't think of any recent articles or white papers I've seen. But here are some things you might want to understand before making any recommendations.

Server platforms mix mostly between Unix and Windows servers
Storage products installed: vendor, model, capacity
Workstation mix requirements for applications on different server platforms to access the same data

Identify the most important applications on each organization
Level of transaction system support required, especially performance data availability requirements for the top applications in each organization
Mirroring requirements, if any
Recovery time objectives for the top applications
Backup systems deployed across all organizations
Snapshot recovery requirements
Redundant pathing requirements for high availability
Clustering requirements anticipated, if any
Amount of data residing in storage today
Growth rate of data, by application if possible
Storage vendor preferences

That should be a good place to start. There is not likely to be a perfect solution for all your requirements. Don't be afraid of mixing server appliances with storage area networks. I think it makes a lot of sense to have a dual technology strategy today to allow yourself to be familiar with different approaches.


This was first published in May 2001
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