By KB Ramesh
In my many years of advising and helping customers to modernize their storage infrastructure, I’ve run into the following situation more than any other.
When customers begin their conversation with HP Storage Consulting Services (read about HP Storage Technology Services here) they often have a reasonable amount of confidence about their current infrastructure needs. Sometimes they even want to rush ahead and discuss specific solutions or technologies, since they understand that an efficient storage environment is an indispensible cornerstone of a great IT infrastructure and the fastest path to success in the Instant-On Enterprise.
However, when I ask them some basic questions about their current storage infrastructure, they will (eventually) admit that while that information would be very useful, they don’t have it! They say it’s quite difficult to come by, and even more difficult to keep updated.
What are these basic questions?
Here are my top eight:
- Do you have a clear view of your current storage infrastructure, including raw storage, allocated and data written?
- Do you monitor capacity and growth trends on an ongoing basis?
- Are you able to assess the likely efficiency of data growth and future projects that require storage?
- Do you operate a tiered storage model based upon SLAs and data criticality?
- Do you have a clear view of the applications and their SLAs and OLAs that reside on the storage infrastructure?
- Are you easily able to analyze and provision new requests for storage?
- Do you have a documented operational best practice for storage administration?
- How are storage capex and opex costs charged back to the business?
Trying to modernize your storage infrastructure without understanding the answers to these questions will most probably result in a suboptimal and often disappointing outcome from a solution design perspective.
After several years of helping customers track down reliable answers to these questions, I can tell you that the best and most effective way to do this is to combine the advantages of a discovery tool and a rigorous analysis of the tool’s results.
A good tool will enable you to gather a lot of the vital information with minimal intrusion. The best tools are even agent-less.
A rigorous analysis quickly identifies improvement opportunities and helps the customer to understand the current storage infrastructure and asset utilization (capacity, performance, etc.); assess operational maturity (capacity planning, provisioning, business continuity); and target areas of potential savings.
A good analysis of the collected data can give you some prime insights. It can provide a complete overview of the existing storage environment and identify opportunities to improve the storage infrastructure environment technically, operationally and financially. It can increase utilization though clean up, rationalization and remediation across block and file environments.
Indeed, a solid analysis can uncover a wealth of opportunities, including ways to:
- Achieve higher levels of consolidation and virtualization.
- Improve the ability to define and deliver on SLAs, including performance, availability, time to provision and time to recover.
- Reduce data storage requirements through consolidation, de-duplication, and virtualization.
- Reduce storage total cost of ownership through a well reasoned ROI analysis.
- Increase recoverability.
HP Storage Efficiency Analysis is a new service, that can quickly examine your storage infrastructure and identify ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. You can learn more about HP Storage Infrastructure and Service Transformation here.
In my next post, I’ll cover some of the key elements that should be included in any storage infrastructure analysis that’s worth doing.