Policy_ Workflow_ Automation-- Foundation Of Storage Operations Management

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					                                                         Storage Operations Management
                                                                 A Holistic Process

              T   here is a holistic storage-management trend taking place in companies today. IT
              groups are acknowledging that storage should become part of the network. What
              businesses are finally seeing is that storage is not an isolated island, or a group of
              isolated islands, but part of a holistic management domain.

              As a result, storage management software has become a critical piece of the IT puzzle.
              Today, customers are looking for storage solutions that control the entire operations
              network and optimize all of their storage resources via a single console, not just
              through a myriad of point solutions.

              Today most organizations license, support and manage multiple software tools for all
              of their individual components and resources in the storage environment adding
              unnecessary complexity. To reach the returns promised by networked storage,

              organizations must deploy one integrated platform that manages and simplifies the
              complete distributed storage environment.

              Storage Operations Management

              The umbrella term Storage Operations Management (SOM) identifies several layers of
              management that not only entails storage resource management, but also elements
              of storage network management, storage performance, storage services, security,
              database operations management and backup operations management (Figure 1). A
              SOM solution is a single, comprehensive storage management platform that addresses
              all four critical metrics that gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of a networked
              storage environment: storage efficiency, operations efficiency, infrastructure TCO and
              business agility. The foundation of a SOM solution is policy, workflow and automation
              which enables application focused, end-to-end management of the networked storage

              A SOM solution simplifies, stabilizes, and secures the storage management process by
              enabling the visualization and control of the network storage environment. Implementing
              a SOM solution, organizations can achieve dramatic reductions in capital and
              administrative costs while at the same time improving service levels to their users by
              optimizing storage resource components, centralizing administration, and managing
              the complexity of distributed storage network operations.

              From a central management console, a SOM solution will allow the storage administrators
              to monitor and manage storage and storage service availability, performance, usage,
              cost, and growth. In turn, this will help the organization optimize its informational
              assets and enhance business performance while dramatically reducing capital and
              operating costs.

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                         STORAGE OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
                                         Policy, Automation, Workflow

   Storage           Storage         Storage             Storage         Data/Storage           Database            Backup
  Network           Resource       Performance           Service           Security            Operations         Operations
 Management        Management      Management          Management        Management            Management         Management
    (SNM)             (SRM)           (SPM)               (SSM)             (SDM)                (DOM)              (BOM)

      SNM                                  SPM                                DSM                                      BOM
• threshold alerts                  • load balancing                    • access control                          • visualization
• performance                       • fail over                         • end-to-end mgt                          • enterprise wide,
• automatic discovery               • performance                       • encryption                                application
• zoning                            • real-time                         • forensic security                         perspective,
• device monitoring                  monitoring                                                                     backup&recovery
• network assets                    • workload data                                                 DOM           • processes mgt
                          SRM                                 SSM
                                                                                              • visualization     • hosts/data at risk
                • file type management                 • service-level
                                                                                              • real-time         • backup job status
                • real time monitoring                   monitoring
                                                                                                monitoring        • restore job status
                • capacity management                  • quotas
                • ownership of storage                 • allocations                          • custom reporting • backup window
                                                                                              • performance         trending
                                                       • real-time monitoring
                                                       • provisioning                         • availability
                                                       • usage profiling                      • utilization
                                                       • billing                              • automatic storage
                                                                                              • capacity planning

An optimal SOM solution must meet each of the following six critical criteria:

       1. Based on policy, workflow and automation. These three core components
       provide intelligence and manageability to the entire networked storage

       2. Optimize multiple variables simultaneously: storage efficiency, operations
       efficiency, infrastructure TCO and business agility. If only one or two of these
       variables are optimize the result may, in-fact, be decreased business agility.

       3. Operate without any device or vendor dependencies. If the software needs
       one particular vendor’s device, or runs on a proprietary appliance, then it is a
       closed, proprietary solution.

       4. Maintain a core architecture that is flexible and independent of a single
       server operating system.

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       5. Manage across the enterprise and not be limited by platform or device
       functionality. This includes the management support for DAS, SAN, NAS, Fibre
       Channel and IP technologies.

       6. Function out of the data path. The SOM solution must be an extremely low
       risk proposition to the production environment by managing outside of the data
       path. This out-of-band management is crucial to ensure the highest levels of
       application performance and availability with the lowest levels of risk and exposure.

Storage Efficiency

Analysts estimate that there is significant underutilized or unused storage in both direct-
attached and network-attached environments. Discovering and reclaiming this capacity
can rapidly lead to a direct savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There also is the
potential to discover significant amounts of “orphaned” storage. This includes existing
storage assets that have been assigned in the array, zoned, LUNed mapped and presented
to the volume manager but never tied to an application.

Discovering significant amounts of such orphaned or stranded storage is one of the benefits
of a SOM solution. These types of benefits result from the automated, policy-based
management of applications and their storage requirements which allow a storage
administrator, through a workflow, to simplify and secure the management of the networked
storage environment. Having an intimate end-to-end view of the entire storage network
environment is the only way to ensure that storage from all levels is considered: storage
from the application, the volume manager, the file system, and the storage array. This
leads to dramatic improvements in capacity utilization and infrastructure availability.

Having an accurate understanding of cost has always been key to evaluating business
performance. Capturing and allocating IT costs, however, has been an imprecise process
at best. With IT costs a significant part of business unit expense, it is crucial to be able to
measure it precisely to help provide a fair and accurate assessment of business unit
performance. A SOM solution not only provides this information to the business unit with
pinpoint accuracy, but also assures that the business units are getting the maximum
benefit for their investment by providing the most efficient storage environment possible.

The capital cost savings – both immediate and recurring – are more than sufficient to
justify the investment in a SOM solution. Thus, additional “soft dollar” savings can be seen
as “free.” Capital cost savings are tangible and quantifiable and quickly mount as your
storage network grows.

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Operations Efficiency

Change Management
Even in a difficult economy organizations must continue to invest in new initiatives to
drive competitive advantage and value creation. These business initiatives invariably
translate into new demands on the processing environment. For example, the change
management process for provisioning storage capacity for new applications has always
been a labor intensive, time consuming and error prone. In fact, it can take more than
a week to provision storage for a single application. A SOM solution will reduce this
change management process from days to minutes, getting strategic applications up
and running sooner, generating a time value of money and saving countless hours of

A SOM solution can further lower operational costs through best practice, policy-driven
automation, which helps to eliminate errors and subsequent downtime. It goes without
saying that the more complex the environment, the greater the likelihood of human
error that can lead to disruptions in application processing. Application disruption, of
course, results in business disruption — which inevitably costs money. To enable a
gradual and a comfortable solution deployment, the SOM solution’s inherent policy
management, automation and workflow vehicles can be fully deployed or as a
supplement to administrator effort.

Operating Costs
In homogeneous, centralized mainframe environments, it is common for a storage
administrator to manage 40 terabytes or more of data. In distributed environments,
managing several terabytes would be seen as efficient. Given that distributed storage
environments account for most enterprise data growth, it is imperative that
organizations close this gap.

A SOM solution not only closes this management gap, it increases simplicity enabling
organizations to quickly train less experienced personnel to manage storage so that
more experienced administrators can be freed up to tackle more difficult or strategic
tasks. A SOM-enabled storage administrator can manage 10 times as much storage
capacity as a person using point tools or manual approaches. In fact, this single
management console raises the skill set of all the storage administrators.

Finally, operating costs can be greatly reduced by enforcing corporate security policies
through a single sign-on and sophisticated security model for storage management.
Malicious behavior, both internal and external, can be prevented or reduced by having a
fully implemented roles-based security model that provides authentication, authorization,
and access control. This will have an additional positive impact on the bottom line
through higher application service levels and availability.

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Infrastructure Total Cost of Ownership

Application Level Storage Management
Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a term that is bantered about by       both vendors and
end users. To really understand the true cost of ownership of a         capital asset it is
important to consider not only the actual purchase price and the        maintenance cost
involved over the life of the asset but also the impact that the        asset has on the

To correctly and completely evaluate the storage infrastructure TCO the business
application supported by this infrastructure must be taken into account. If it is critical
that this application never goes down and data is never lost then the cost associated
with this type of availability needs to be an integral part of the TCO of the asset
purchased to support this application.

A SOM solution is one mechanism to optimize the entire storage infrastructure TCO
based on all the critical factors: the asset cost, the maintenance cost and the business
impact of the asset. A SOM solution uses the application level business rules or
policies to ensure that information is placed on the appropriate type of assets. For
example, a SOM solution ensures that critical data is on highly available and mirrored
storage devices, or expensive assets, and less critical data is maintained on less
expensive assets.

A SOM solution not only ensures that the TCO is optimized from a capital asset
perspective but also from an operations management perspective. A SOM solution,
through the extensive application level policies or rules ensures the availability and
performance of critical applications. These policies can, if desired, initiate action to
self-correct a potential problem before it is apparent within the application. This ensures
that your storage administrators and storage architects are focused on tasks that add
value to the organization vs. “baby sitting” existing assets.

A SOM solution not only can ensure the performance and availability of critical applications
but can also meet the cost objectives. Just as with optimization of application
performance and availability, the storage cost can also be optimized. The SOM solution
takes into account the entire storage supply chain and management cost associated
with that supply chain when considering the overall cost to the application.

TCO can only truly be optimized when the impact of the business is considered as part
of the equation. A SOM solution allows you to define the impact to the business of the
entire storage infrastructure.

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Why Storage Operations Management

Business Agility

In the current economic environment, storage and IT managers are challenged to do
more with less. They are expected to improve service offerings and increase availability
and performance while holding the line on operating and capital expenses.

For those businesses that are dissatisfied with their inability to lower their cost structure
while supporting business initiatives and service levels, the right SOM solution can
provide a means of reducing cost and accelerating strategic business value by:
   • Providing closed-looped control of operations.
   • Empowering IT to operate as a business with detailed storage costs and capability
       for charge backs and billing.
   • Ensuring an IT business focus by providing application-to-device-level control.
   • Reducing human error with a methodology that enables safe, correct and
       complete storage management practices, either through manual practices or
       automated policies.
   • Enhancing accountability, measurability, controllability and security through policy-
       driven workflows.
   • Simplifying networked storage operations management through a single “pane
       of glass” interface.
   • Eliminating point tools and disjointed solutions.

A SOM solution should be architected for scalability, security and stability. A SOM
solution should enable the management of disperse sites providing for enterprise wide
networked storage management. The key benefits of implementing an optimal SOM
solution are: lower capital costs and operational costs; simplifying, stabilizing and
securing your network storage; increased business agility.

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