Defining critical storage management functions

What are the leading best practices about policies and strategies regarding storage management? It's a bit of an open ended question as the lead policies within the storage management arena are usually directly connected with an organization's goals. Let me be more specific. If an organization wants to be more flexible with regard to its customer's requirements, both internally and externally, then they will require a platform that enables them to be flexible in other words, picking the right hardware, software, and partners to deliver the solution.

As far as managing the day-to-day environment, there are several critical areas:

-Event management and alerting

- Data availability-data protection
1. Replication
2. Backup/restore
3. Clustering

- Provisioning/trending
1. Compliance
2. Overall management

Once the day-to-day needs have been met an organization can look at the strategic needs to the enterprise, including:

Improvement of current processes in three (3) main areas:

1. Consolidation -- look at new projects and the enterprise as a whole and determine where storage is required.

2. Continuance -- what new processes or technologies can be used to augment/better the enterprise's current continuance strategy (backup, replication, clustering).

3. Compliance -- with the application of new federal and state laws to enterprise's compliance is becoming a critical item on every CIO's agenda

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and looking at this new requirement will entail reviewing the companies security and retention systems.

Some companies require SLAs to maintain an accounting of the internal and external dollars spent on the storage and its management. In this way, a company can deliver a report on what measurements were met and not met. Some internal IT organizations are kept to the fire with regards to payment from internal accounts for services unless SLAs are maintained. Some enterprises have rolled out a tiered storage menu for its departments so the department understands the various costs associated with its required tier of storage.

Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to let me know.

For more information:

Tip: SAN management: A growing concern amid storage consolidation

Tip: Aligning storage management tools with operational processes

Tip: SMI-S: What's in it for storage managers?

About the author: Brett Cooper is one of SearchStorage.com's storage management experts. He is also a Technical Marketing Engineer, Network Appliance, Inc., and a frequent speaker at storage industry events.

This was first published in February 2004

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