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Best Practices: Get your storage management group up and running

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Step 3: What's your policy?
Now that you've got the band together, make sure everyone's playing the same tune. Decide exactly what the group--and each individual--is expected to do. People tend to hear what they want to hear, rather than what's really being said, so commit your policies to paper.

First, define the team's responsibilities. The question of demarcation usually boils down to these three questions:

  • Do you configure volume managers and file systems on servers? If so, you'll need root/administrator access, and you can expect to be part of the planning and debugging process for servers.
  • Does the storage realm end before or after the host bus adapter? Once you get inside the server's case, you have to be prepared to take on much more work as system changes happen.
  • How about managing a Fibre Channel (FC) or Ethernet storage area network (SAN)? Cisco Systems Inc. SANs and iSCSI blur the once-clear line separating network and storage teams.

Once everyone agrees on team responsibilities, it's time to determine the specific tasks that each member will take on. I've outlined four general roles, but individual job descriptions are also needed to make sure everyone understands expectations.

A service framework like the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can offer some ideas for

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the tasks that will need to be performed. But ITIL predates the storage specialty, so some creativity is needed to develop a complete list. At GlassHouse Technologies, I was part of the team that defined our storage-specific service framework (the GlassHouse storage management lifecycle), so I can vouch for the amount of effort that's required to put a good list together.

This was first published in October 2004

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