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Outsourcing storage management, what's available and what's needed

What are your thoughts about outsourcing SAN management? I am not talking about renting space from a SAN provider (ASP model). I am referring to a SAN device/network management (device configuration, management and monitoring combined with network management and monitoring).

Are a lot of companies offering this service today? Do you see a lot of customers looking for this kind of service?


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Many of the larger financial institutions like this method, as it reduces the on-payroll staff required to manage their data networks. The method of renting space from an SSP based on usage was very hot at one time but companies felt uncomfortable with letting a third party control access to their "crown jewels" which is a company's data. Security and QOS was also a major concern. This led to the method of outsourcing only data management, not resources, to a third party. The storage is owned by the company that owns the data and is either located in a cage at one of the service providers locations, locally in the company's data center or both.

Managed storage services are becoming hot but all the issues with outsourcing everything still needs to be taken into consideration. Security is the major concern, along with the management provider's ability to give you great reporting on what EXACTLY is going on in your data network. Network management outsourcing companies have lots of experience with networks but make sure the company you choose also has vast storage network experience also. If you have in-house expertise, and have purchased good SRM (storage resource management) and ARM (automated resource management) tools, then do it yourself. If not, outsourcing is a viable option, as long as written SLAs are in place.

Chris

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This was first published in December 2002

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