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San management -- critical success factors

By Rick Cook

Concerned about installing a SAN? You're not alone. A recent survey by Enterprise Management Associates (Boulder, Colo.) showed that most of the companies surveyed had major concerns about deploying a SAN. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed cited the high cost of implementation as the major concern. Almost as many cited the lack of staff and resources. About 30 percent cited lack of standards and the difficulty of building a business case for a SAN.

Based on their survey results, EMA cited SAN management as the key to success with SANS. "Finding an effective combination of technology and techniques which allow you to design, deploy, and then control an efficient storage environment is absolutely essential," the EMA report said.

While the report noted that vendors of both SAN equipment and general storage management software are beginning to provide the necessary software tools, this is still an area that needs to be carefully considered in implementing a SAN. One approach is to work backwards from the SAN management software. In other words, find SAN management software that meets your needs, and then select a SAN configuration that is effectively supported by that software.

In this context it's worth noting that the respondents to the EMC survey were about evenly divided between companies who were looking to storage management software companies such as Tivoli or Computer Associates for their SAN management software, and those who expect to get the management software from the hardware vendors.

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About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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