Storage management is often looked at as a discipline that deals with maintaining and configuring storage resources. However, the danger with this point of view is that it could reduce storage management to a purely technical effort. And while there's no question that maintaining and configuring storage resources is an important part of the daily operation of every storage team, these tasks truly belong to those in operations who deal with the technical part of storage management rather than those who manage and allocate the resources.
So what exactly is storage management? First and foremost, storage managers are responsible for making digitally stored data accessible, secure and reliable at a quality required by the process that uses the data. Another way to look at this is that storage management has to provide the resources, process and methodologies of digital storage and align them with the business requirements -- all at the lowest cost possible.
A better definition of storage management that encompasses the non technical aspects as well could look like this: Storage management is a set of disciplines that defines storage in terms of performance, security and availability focused on the requirements of the data users. This definition embraces the general management issues and the technical issues as well.
These disciplines require administration through storage management policies and can best be fulfilled by having a central storage management team for complete control of implementation of storage policies. This group should be responsible for all aspects of management storage resources and providing best-of-breed solutions that can meet the future growth requirements while maintaining a strict control over money spent on storage.
Building such a team and developing a storage management practice should be done in a project. Such a storage management project should have eight phases which we'll look at in detail in this series of articles. The phases are:
In the following articles we'll look in detail at the stages of building a storage management practice, starting with the first phase of "Understanding and assessing the requirements."
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About the author: Haag is a storage management consultant for Fortune 500 firms throughout the world, where he specializes in conducting storage assessments, financial analyses and strategic storage planning. Prior to starting his own Swiss-based consulting firm, Haag worked for many years in the field of storage resource management, including time spent as a business consultant to Central Europe for HighGround Systems. After HighGround's acquisition by Sun Microsystems, Haag also was involved in integrating SRM into Sun's portfolio. While at Sun, he also served in the Professional Services group for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.