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SSP availability: Assessing the infrastructure

SLAs and evaluating claims made by SSPs.

SSP availability: Assessing the infrastructure

By Linda Gail Christie

"It's critical that companies evaluate an SSP's 'availability promise,'" said Jason Schaffer, VP of Marketing for StorageWay, a managed storage utility providing complete storage and application data management solutions.

"As more and more SSPs enter the market, it's vital that companies closely examine availability claims before committing valuable information assets to their care," Schaffer said. "During your initial discussions, examine their list of clients. Have they managed enterprise-level solutions, both nationally and globally? Have they designed a global architecture that can seamlessly scale with your business requirements? Do they have the domain expertise to maintain a four-nines SLA as a storage utility service? Have they managed business-critical information? Ask for client contact information so you can obtain references."

Schaffer also advises examining the architectures they use. "Using an enterprise-grade infrastructure to manage and scale their service portfolio is very critical," Schaffer said. "Customized solutions inevitably won't be robust enough to support the four or five nines of availability required by many businesses. Customized solutions are simply not scalable or manageable as a global storage utility."

To guarantee availability, the SSP should provide a separate network architecture just for managing and monitoring the storage service: software agents, hardware components, and networking components for maintenance and control of the storage architecture. "With these three different networks--the storage network, the backup network, and the monitoring and managing network--no single failure will bring the service down," Schaffer said.

While many SSPs claim to offer high availability solutions, it pays to look beyond the SLA at the infrastructure they have in place to back up high availability promises.

For additional information about StorageWay, visit their Web site at

About the author: Storage management tips are written by Linda Gail Christie, a contributing editor based in Tulsa, Okla.

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