Tips For Effective Storage Management

New Delhi: | Updated: Oct 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
With the emergence of latest technologies, business infrastructure has undergone a change, particularly over the last 15 years. There are global and interconnected enterprises, with highly complex and heterogeneous environments. In order to help the IT managers in their stride to implement world class storage system, Legato Systems India has laid down an eight-point strategy as best practices to manage storage infrastructure. Excerpts:

Deploy enterprise wide storage system
The enterprise wide data protection and storage management is recommended rather than departmental storage management. A typical enterprise will have many, distributed remote branch offices such as department stores, bank branches, or other types of branch offices. Disruptions in service within these locations have cascading impacts across the business. Hence, it is very important to deploy enterprise wide data protection and application availability storage management solutions.

Select a highly available environment
The companies should implement storage management software in a highly available environment providing increased accessibility of data. As enterprises are global and interconnected, there is a strong and steady move towards always-on operations better known as 7x24x365 operations. Businesses overall requirement for data and application availability have gone up dramatically. Cost of downtime is very high, ranging from few thousand dollars to millions per hour. For example, if an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system is down for one hour, it can cost as much as $750,000.

Use a storage management software
To leverage existing IT infrastructure which should be capable of seamlessly integrating into newer storage technologies like NAS (Network Attached Storage) & SAN (Storage Area Network), a storage management software is a must. Data storage operations happen over the LAN, which was never meant to do these type of operations. When data is backed up, the LAN users, who are doing the critical work for the company, are impacted and their productivity goes down. So storage management hardware and software should be scalable to take care of new technologies such as NAS, SAN, iSCSI etc.

Adopt a light-out and hands-off approach
You can reduce the cost of ownership by implementing storage management with a lights-out and hand-off approach to contain the operational costs.

Were all aware of chronic IT under-staffing, a condition which persists and makes it challenging to run key systems upon which businesses depend. There are 15-30 per cent budget cuts so you need to have automated storage management solutions instead of doing things manually.

An intuitive interface
The system should have an intuitive interface like a Web browser manageable from anywhere. Most of the enterprises are working in global environment with less manpower and to make sure that their complex storage infrastructure is running 7x24x365, they need to have manageability from anywhere, that too in a user friendly Web-based graphic user interface (GUI).

Efficient disaster recovery capabilities are must
Businesses can no longer afford to think in terms of protecting just their own infrastructure but must think about all of the infrastructure connected with their business upon which they are dependent and how it is all protected. Enterprises need have efficient disaster recovery capabilities for data and applications to recover their businesses in the wake of building, managing, and supporting enterprise customers.

Solutions may start from traditional tape backup to server-less backups to data replications to WAN clustering based on recovery from days to minutes and availability from zero to 100 per cent.

Interoperability is a key issue
The storage management software should support multiple operating systems, applications and databases. Since the enterprises have very complex and heterogeneous IT infrastructure, it is very important for any storage management software to support multiple operating systems (NT, Win2K, Linux, Netware and various flavours of UNIX), applications (ERP, Lotus Notes, MS Exchange, etc) and databases (Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Informix, etc).

Dont forget the performance
Implement a storage management solution for high performance, including streaming of multiple streams of data to backup devices. For high performance, storage management software should support: Multiplexing, parallelism, Backup to disk, for near line data recovery and client parallelism.