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Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6

March 27th, 2009 No comments

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Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Continuing the blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this post focuses on some facts about what causes and what are inconsistencies in storage environments.
 

To read the previous blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA)

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1: Storage Resource Analysis and Storage Economics

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2: The IT – Storage World of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3: The IT – Storage Budgets of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4:Some Fundamental Questions

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5:Facts about your Data

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 7: The Technical Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 8: The Business Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9: The End Result

 

To talk about a few inconsistencies that exist in the volatile storage environments, here is a subset of them, later in the post we will talk about what causes these inconsistencies.

o   Host masking to non existing LUNs
o   Host masking to invalid LUNs
o   Multipathing inconsistency with Hostmodes
o   Split BCV’s with no increments
o   BCV is smaller than Source devices
o   Source is smaller than BCV devices
o   Administratively fractured Clone copy, data integrity issues
o   Unallocated BCV to LUN
o   Host masked to LUN and LUN non mapped to path
o   LUN mapped to path and not masked to host
o   Single path host
o   Replication split
o   Replication failover
o   Replication Sync
o   R1 and R2 LUN to with improper host attachments
o   BCV never established
o   BCV Split
o   BCV Sync
o   BCV Mirroring
o   Empty disk drive slots
o   Disk drives installed but not used or configured
o   Physical Disk space (unused disk drive space)
o   LUN unallocated
o   Ungrouped disk
 

The above storage inconsistencies are pretty common with large environments and with multisite replication enabled. Also without a proper storage management tool, these errors are very likely to exist in any storage environment.

What causes these above set of issues; let’s talk about a few primary related reasons

o   Human error
o   Incorrect planning and implementation
o   Lack of Storage Strategy
o   Lack of Training
o   Lack of Reclamation Strategy
o   Storage Consolidation projects
o   Host migration projects
o   Host retirement or scrapped projects
o   Lack of Storage management
o   Operational Oversight
o   Undocumented planning and procedures
 

Experience

Just spoke to a potential customer last week. During a conference call we asked them, what are some of the major issues they are seeing in their storage environment? They have two Storage tools they use for operational and management purposes to handle a large double digit PB storage environment.

The answer from one of the architects was, we know of a lot of issues in our environment, but we have priorities around other things happening in the environment and cannot focus on these operational day to day non trivial issues.

With a large environment like the above to manage, a storage reclamation exercise can help a customer reclaim storage in terms of PB’s and could convert into immediate ROI, ROA and reduction in CapEx / OpEx that would help the organization save millions of dollars in new storage acquisitions. The question remains, are those our priorities today?

Do you have any of the above issues in your storage environment, or are you aware of them yet? 

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5

March 27th, 2009 No comments

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Facts about Storage


Continuing the blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this post focuses on some facts about data that sits in Storage Environments.

To read the previous blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA)

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1: Storage Resource Analysis and Storage Economics

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2: The IT – Storage World of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3: The IT – Storage Budgets of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4: Some Fundamental Questions

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5: Facts about your Data

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 7: The Technical Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 8: The Business Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9: The End Result

 

Going to a very basic question about a Storage Environment, What percent of your storage is allocated and what percent of it is actually being used?

The more utilization you gain, the further you can push your new storage acquisition timeframes increasing your ROI and reducing your CapEx. The better efficiency and optimization you gain in your storage environments, the further you can push to reduce your OpEx.

So based on some latest data we have gathered from various different customer environments, believe it or not, on an average, this is what we saw…..

 

Allocated Storage

Average Customer Production data: Between 20 to 24%

Average Copy / Replication data: 20% more than Production data: Between 24 to 28%

Raid Overhead associated with production data: Between 15 to 19%

Storage Allocated but no owners: Between 18 to 22%

 

Unallocated Storage

Storage unallocated meant for future use: 13 to 17%

 

To shed some light on production and copy / replication data, there are a lot of data inconsistencies being reported in terms of broken links, replication failures, source and bcv lun size mismatches, etc.

 


 

The above scenarios with allocated / unallocated storage will reduce your ROI (Return on Investment) and ROA (Return on Asset), further causing budgeting issues in an organization.  

As you go to various different teams and ask them about the allocated / unallocated storage, you will hear different answers throughout the entire organization. From everyone’s view these numbers are debatable.  

 

Experience:

This time around, a personal experience.

In addition to my Technology Solutions responsibilities for our customers, I also have responsibilities around managing internal IT infrastructure that includes the apps, databases , storage and other IT assets. We have a lot of new projects happening every month, quarter, etc and have to allocate storage for those needs.

Projects that are hot today, might not be hot in the next 3 months, or may be in next 6 months. Projects get scrapped, host systems get scrapped, but storage still sits there, churning and spinning. Believe it or not, as the economic times change, lots of things are enforced and as the IT managers internally started looking at all the storage, we were able to reclaim quite a bit that was in real terms stranded storage, which is now all allocated to new ongoing projects or ready to be allocated at a short notice.

Do you know how much of your storage today is allocated, unallocated, stranded and importantly how much of it is Production data in your environment? 

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4

March 26th, 2009 No comments

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Some Fundamental Questions

Continuing the blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this post focuses on some fundamental questions around Storage Environments.


To read the previous blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA)

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1: Storage Resource Analysis and Storage Economics

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2: The IT – Storage World of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3: The IT – Storage Budgets of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4: Some Fundamental Questions

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5: Facts about your Data

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 7: The Technical Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 8: The Business Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9: The End Result

 

We will continue our quest into Storage Economics with a few questions about our environments. If you are a storage administrator, storage architect, storage capacity planner, host administrator, member of CIO’s office, CIO, Strategic Planning and Buying teams, this post is for you. Based on your environments, organizations and business units, I would suggest you send these questions to at least 3 different teams that are related to storage and have them answer these questions. To your surprise, you will see the disconnect people within various different teams have based on the roles they play.  

So what are these fundamental questions? They revolve around your entire storage environment from your Storage Assets to your Storage processes like Tiering, Chargeback’s, Capacity Planning, Trends, Forecasting, Change Control, Provisioning, Service, purchasing, etc.


To discuss a few of them,

o   How much Storage do we have in our environment?

o   How much Storage do we have at various data centers we own?

o   How many Storage assets do we own? And what type of assets?

o   How much data (primary, replication) do we have at each data center?

o   How much storage growth did we forecast for 2008?

o   How much storage did the CIO’s office purchase in 2008? Are the numbers in line?

o   How much forecast do we have for this current year 2009?

o   When was the last time we purchased something because it’s a great toy to work and play with?

o   What is the % of our Storage Allocated?

o   What is the % of our Storage Utilization?

o   What % of our Storage is virtualized?

o   How do we measure our Storage efficiency?

o   How often do we run Storage optimization exercises?

o   How many hosts are connected to our Storage Environment?

o   Do we have a long term Storage Strategy in terms of growth, technology, direction, etc?

o   How many host systems do we migrate every week, month, quarter?

o   When was the last time after a host migration or host retirement, our storage was reclaimed?

o   Do we have a process around Storage Reclamation?

o   Is our Storage Strategy in line with our overall priorities?

o   Is our Storage being managed properly?

o   Is our Storage in line with what our Consultants have advised in the past?

o   When was the last time we had an Application Outage because of Storage?

o   What was the penalty our division paid for a human mistake?

o   What was the penalty our division paid for an application outage because of Storage mis-configurations?

o   Do we use Tiering in our Storage environment?

o   Do we enforce ILM in our Storage environment?

o   How much data based on Tiering do we have in our environment?

o   How many Luns are associated with a given host in our environment?

o   What host has the most amount of Storage allocated?

o   Do we replicate data for its criticalness?

o   Do we replicate data for Compliance?

o   When was the last time we verified our site to site replication is correctly working

o   Do we have islands of storage or centralized storage?

o   Are our BCV devices smaller than your source devices?

o   Are our BCV devices larger than your source devices?o   How do we do chargeback’s to the groups that use Storage?

o   Who paid for the last Storage hardware that was rolled into our datacenter? Who is actually using that Storage today?

o   Are we looking to purchase new Storage this month or quarter?

o   Do we need any independent help?

 

 

Experience

We manage some storage at a very large retail house. During a conference bridge meeting with the outsourcing partner of the customer who manages the entire Data center along with other storage islands, there was a basic question we asked the customer and the outsourcing partner, do you happen to know how many host systems are attached to this storage frame?

Answer comes back; it’s a development box, so we really don’t care. Upon further analyzing there storage environment over the next couple of days we found out that the customer had 82 host systems connected to this frame, primarily all classified as production data running on VMware and citrix infrastructure servers.


Would you like to know answers to all the questions above and develop an organization wide strategy about your Storage?

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3

March 26th, 2009 No comments

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The IT Budgets of 2009

Continuing my posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA) and Storage Economics, this one focuses on the facts of IT Budgets of 2009.
 

To read the previous post on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA)

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1 Storage Resource Analysis & Storage Economics

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2 The IT – Storage World of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 3: The IT – Storage Budgets of 2009

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4: Some Fundamental Questions

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 5: Facts about your Data

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 7: The Technical Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 8: The Business Case

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 9: The End Result

 

To list some very important items & agenda’s related to IT – Storage Budgets of 2009 are

 

  • Ø  Direct Impact Cost

o   Reducing Total Cost of Ownership

o   Reducing CapEx

o   Reducing OpEx

o   Storage Segment outsourcing

o   Reduce Cost of After Warranty Support

o   Reduction in Power Consumption

o   Reduction in Storage Management

o   Meeting SLA’s resulting in reduction in Penalties

  

 

  • Ø  Hidden Savings

o   Storage Virtualization

o   Increase Utilization & Efficiency

o   Storage Reclamation & Optimization

o   Redeploying unused storage

o   Trend Analysis and Forecasting

o   Unnecessary licensing cost for storage management software

o   Reduction in Floor Space

o   Centralized Storage

o   Storage Consolidation

o   Automation

o   Investment into long lasting technology

o   Planning resulting in future growth without heavy cost impact

o   Tiering using ILM approach

o   Green Data Center

 

Should I mention, “DO MORE WITH LESS”, the beaten up concept of 2009.

And the important aspect is how do you manage to achieve all of the above while your databases are growing, your file systems are growing and you do not have a luxury to spend any additional dollars this year?


Experience

Recently I had a chance to talk to a CIO from a Fortune 1000 customer, and during the conversation with him, we asked him about what the primary objectives he has for his organization related to Storage.

Some of the things he mentioned were increasing efficiency and utilization within his storage environments, reducing his OpEx with automation and consolidation, reducing his CapEx with leveraging his IT assets on the floor for 3 additional years after warranty and try to centralize the entire storage throughout all business groups for better management and OpEx/CapEx reduction.

 

Well, let’s move on to the next topic…….

What have you or the top management done in your organization to meet the IT – Storage budgets of 2009?