The right way to provision storage


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Provisioning tools
Software vendors are touting automated provisioning tools, usually as part of larger storage resource management packages. But many provisioning tools don't work across different vendors' products. "When it comes to automated provisioning, I've never seen it consistently work right," says Weinstein. "The success rate is about 50%. Something always gets left out." The biggest challenge automated provisioning tools face is the sheer diversity of arrays, with each having to be addressed natively at a low level.

Automated provisioning, it turns out, isn't very automated at all. "The tools essentially use workflow to automate pieces of the manual provisioning process, but some things are always missing, such as change management, approvals or the server side," says Robert Passmore, vice president, research at Stamford, CT-based research firm Gartner Inc. They also don't get deep into the storage. "The tools operate at a high level, after the RAID sets have already been created, for example," he continues. "They can't do all the nitty-gritty work. For that you need each array vendor's tool. But, eventually, automated tools will get there."

Automated heterogeneous storage provisioning tools from vendors like CA Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and others will eventually make storage provisioning a snap--but not today. Until then, storage administrators will just have to provision storage the old-fashioned way ... by carving

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raw disk capacity into LUNs by hand.

This was first published in October 2006

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