Having spent more than 13 years supporting a variety of companies' IT environments, and having seen numerous implementations of data consolidation in various companies, I can tell you that I agree without reservation that centralizing storage has many tangible benefits.
It was my desire to centralize and consolidate the chaos of the different environments I constantly found myself working in that led me into the storage industry in the first place. Admittedly, there are a lot of different companies with many different solutions out there all offering ways to centralize data. This is because centralizing data is a valuable investment for a company and a lucrative business for providers.
To me, centralizing storage is more than providing just the underlying technology. An IT organization, from the IT managers up to the CTO's and CFO's forms a long term working relationship -- a partnership with a storage solution company. Working together they should be able to arrive at an informed consensus where one or more of many compelling technologies (such as NAS, SAN or virtualization) are matched with specific requirements of that customer's business -- to deliver a complete solution providing maximum benefit.
I have listed below the more common requirements. These requirements could be re-arranged in a variety of different ways -- depending upon the specific business needs of a company. Of course, some companies, especially smaller ones, might need only a few of these requirements, but no one wants to buy into a solution that has no room for growth or flexibility to meet changing business requirements.Click for Part II of Joel's consolidation definition
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