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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? 

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 2

March 25th, 2009 No comments

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The IT – Storage World of 2009

Continuing the series blog post on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this post focuses on the “IT – Storage World of 2009” and the requirements / importance of it around today’s overall Storage Strategy.


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


The following are the important facets of Today’s IT – Storage Environments.  

·         Complexity

·         Infrastructure

·         Cost

·         Tiering

·         Replication & Archiving

·         Virtualization

·         Content Management

·         Deduplication

·         Client Usage Billing

·         Database Growth

·         File System Growth



The Categories are now divided into Sub Categories: These categories and sub categories are primarily focused around the Storage Domain.


·         Complexity around Environments

o   Business Processes

o   Automation

o   Faster response times

o   SLA’s

o   Applications requirements

o   OS’s requirements

o   Networking Layers interface

o   Fabric Layers technology

o   Virtualization Layers

o   Technology Evolution

o   Uptime Requirements

o   Multi Vendor Support

o   Mergers and Acquisitions

o   Storage Consolidation

o   Storage Migration

 

·         Infrastructure Requirements

o   Datacenter Requirements

o   Application availability

o   Application Support

o   Storage backend Support

o   Outsourcing

o   Insourcing

o   Cost Management

o   Power Requirements

o   Utilization of Storage (x% from CIO)

 

·         Cost

o   CapEx Reduction

o   OpEx Reduction

o   Cost of Support

o   Penalties

 

·         Tiering Requirements

o   Application Tiering

o   Business Process Tiering

o   User Data Tiering

o   Cost Savings

 

·         Replication & Archiving

o   Sarbanes Oxley

o   HIPPA

o   SEC

o   Other Compliance

o   Critical Business Requirements

o   Critical Application Requirements

 

·         Virtualization

o   Utilization

o   Efficiency

o   Uptime

o   Floor Space

o   Green Data Center

 

·         Content Management

o   Business Processes

o   User Data

o   Meta Data

 

·         Deduplication

o   Backup Windows

o   File Transfers times

o   Bandwidth

 

·         Client Usage Billing

o   Centralized Shared Storage

o   Centralized Management

o   Charge Backs and Bill Backs

o   Complex processes for Usage Billing

 

·         Database Growth

o   Ever growing databases

o   Database requirements in terms of storage

o   Database Log files

o   Log Shipping

o   Critical Applications around Databases

 

·         File System Growth

o   Ever Growing file systems

o   User Data

o   Business Process Data

 

While we talk about the IT – Storage Industry and its surrounding requirements and impact, we need to know the Storage Economics behind it.


While the File Systems are consistently growing, Databases are exponentially growing, Compliance is a must and business processes are becoming critical every day, how do we manage and leverage what we have plus help reduce CapEx / OpEx and still manage to keep uptime/ efficiency / utilization.


Example:

I recently had a chance to visit a MNC (Multi National Company) to talk about Storage. We had long 6 hour meetings with various Application Owners, Business Group Owners, Strategic Planning folks, member’s from the CIO’s office, Storage Administrator and Host Administrator. During these sessions, we asked them a few basic questions about their Storage environments related to usage, outages, charge backs, new acquisition, storage management, process management, etc.

It was very surprising to see disconnect of priorities that various different teams had based on the role they played in that organization. Certain folks were talking about budget reductions, while some had priorities to play around with the latest technologies, while some had priorities about the application uptime, while some were focused on growth and some thought about ease of use.

But during the entire time we did not hear any common messages from these various teams about efficiency and optimization of their Storage Environments …….


Well, let’s move on….

What do you do to keep up with the IT – Storage requirements?

Is someone helping you purchase new Storage?

Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 1

March 25th, 2009 4 comments

TO SUBSCRIBE TO STORAGENERVE BLOG

 

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

 

Lately I have really been away from blogging; seldom get time to read the blogs I follow every day, can’t remember the last time I was on Twitter.

Work has been really busy and motivating these days, with new Service offerings we are taking to our customers and partners throughout the world, life has become more than challenging, trying to work around multiple time zones, conference bridges, airplanes or customer sites for presentations, white boards and demos.

It seems the harder we work, the more digital antisocial we become (getting away from LinkedIn, Blogging, Twittering, Gmail’g, Orkut and Facebook)?

So a lot of my work these days has been around Storage Resource Analysis (SRA) that we are offering to our customers. What I plan to do over the next several post is go over a few things to describe these services and how it fits into today’s IT / Storage Environments.

I will try to leave these blog posts to minimum number of words (possibly 400 max) but will try to describe how it helps customers in these tough economic times to better optimize storage with immediate ROI and immediate CapEx and OpEx reductions.

We will talk about the technology and the way it fits into a customer’s environment overall providing resources that help customers better leverage their existing storage assets.

I have lately been reading some blog post by David Merrill and am starting to understand the importance of Storage Economics and how it plays a major role into customer environments related to applications, usability, budgets, ROI, etc.

Hope you find these posts interesting and informative. It might help understand the necessity of Storage Economics for your environments.

Experience: 

I had a very unique experience with my recent trip to a customer site: This is a large customer running several PB’s of storage. I asked them a question during a brainstorming session, how do you anticipate your storage to grow over the next 12 months. To my surprise one of their chief Storage Architects responded to me, the OEM (not to mention any names) told us earlier this year that we are growing at an average of 70% a year.

This really got me thinking, I started researching this customer to understand how their data was growing at 70% a year. The share price of the company is not growing at 70% (rather lost all its value in 2008), the product sales of this company is not growing at 70%, they are not hiring employees at a rate of 70% a year (rather have shrunk to half the number of employees), their engineering / research divisions haven’t grown at 70% a year, application owners, host systems & projects they are working on are not growing at 70%, neither is the storage industry growing at 70%. The more I started thinking, the more it didn’t make sense.

I am just going to leave this post here…..I will let you judge the rest, have these things happened in your environment?