How to better connect storage to the business


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Architecting a Service Oriented Infrastructure
As noted earlier, storage impacts many business workflows. To support a wide range of requirements, an effective service architecture must provide the following:

  • Responsiveness to business workflow demands
  • Tight integration with infrastructure and operations
  • Flexibility, scalability and efficiency
  • Adherence to standards wherever possible
For application development, the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) methodology has been evolving over the past few years in response to the growth and demands of Web-based apps. The goal is to support business processes and enhance the organization's ability to respond to changing market pressures. An SOA employs a common set of application services that can be shared among enterprise apps.

At the technology infrastructure level, a service provider model lends itself to a similar concept called a Service Oriented Infrastructure (SOI). An SOI is based on the concept of "publishing" a set of services that can be "subscribed" to by those requiring the services. Implicit in the model is the concept of a supply chain. A service is provided to a functional area that can leverage that service's capabilities to provide a function to a higher level within the organization.

Let's look at the attributes of an SOI. The results of the service are visible to the requester, but not the details of how the service is provided. In storage, this means distinguishing between service attributes and the delivery method.

Processes play a major role in an SOI. External processes manage the interaction with customers, focus on customer satisfaction and demonstrate performance; internal processes handle the method of operation, and focus on efficiency and quality of service.

This was first published in November 2006

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