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Run storage as a utility

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Properly managing changes is a key requirement to ensure uninterrupted IT services. Changes always involve a certain level of risk. A well-defined change management process that ensures all changes are reviewed, tested (if possible), approved and scheduled puts the proper controls around changes. If possible, changes should also have a provision for rollback that allows returning to the configuration prior to the change. Due to the inherent risk of changes and their potential detrimental impact, SRM vendors have added rudimentary change management features to their suites. Onaro SANscreen takes change management to another level by analyzing the impact of changes to the storage infrastructure prior to enacting a change.

Visibility into all aspects of the storage infrastructure, including dependent services like servers and the network, is a prerequisite to running storage like a utility. Only complete visibility into the full data path, from the application that uses the storage service and servers that host the apps, to involved storage switches, arrays and spindles, will enable the storage service to live up to agreed service levels. Performance, availability, utilization, errors, data analysis and usage patterns are some of the attributes a storage management app needs to report on along the full data path.

While SRM applications have the ability

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to report on the various aspects, they don't necessarily provide the depth and breadth of some of the tools that focus on a very specific aspect. For instance, all SRM applications can analyze storage performance, but Akorri BalancePoint provides cross-domain performance data that includes all IT infrastructure dependencies.

"Cross-domain storage management tools with predictive analysis capabilities that allow troubleshooting and analyzing of all facets of the storage infrastructure are instrumental to delivering committed service levels," says StorageIO Group's Schulz.

This was first published in December 2007

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