How to better connect storage to the business


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The weakest link?
Being near the bottom of the supply chain doesn't equate to being low in value. On the contrary, almost every function and workflow is dependent on storage services. But there can be a misalignment between storage and its ultimate customer at the top of the chain. At the upper end, the focus is on enabling a business workflow as efficiently as possible. Often, decisions are made that don't adequately consider the impact on data management and the storage infrastructure.

An area of particular weakness is often long-term data retention. We all know that some data needs to be retained for legal, regulatory and business reasons, but most organizations are grappling with how to identify, segregate, store and manage that data. The logical, and often only, place to enable data aging and management policy is within the app; however, few apps provide that mechanism, resulting in the problem of being overrun with inactive data on primary storage. Because the storage group is under pressure to control costs, it has to figure out how to address the problem. This can result in unintended, costly consequences and shortcomings in some supply-chain planning and design.

A supply chain is only as effective as its weakest link. Therefore, service metrics must be clearly defined and understood for each link in the chain. For the business service to be delivered effectively, each component supporting it must perform to required levels.

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There's little to be gained if one link substantially overdelivers other links.

Each link must understand its interdependencies and perform its responsibilities in proper sequence. Just as in manufacturing, where subassemblies must meet in the right sequences, storage depends on areas like networking and servers; it also needs to provide provisioning and data recovery services to support databases and applications.

This was first published in November 2006

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