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To start your Storage transformation, look in the "Mirror"

By Matt Lennie, Transformation Consultant, HP Storage Consulting

 

“Storage migration and Storage transformation are NOT the same thing,” my Computer Science teacher would have said, had he not retired in 1989, long before these concepts reached the levels of maturity they have today. As I’ve noted before (see my post Start out right on your storage transformation journey), these two concepts are very often confused, when in reality the first should be treated as a subset of the second. Make no mistake, data migration is a complex and time-consuming beast, but it represents only a small part of the effort required for a successful storage transformation.

 

The right way to tackle data migration is just one of the insights that the HP Storage Transformation Experience Workshop can help companies achieve. The Workshop is designed to stimulate conversation around the many topics which, in our experience, very often derail transformation programmes. During Phase 1 of the workshop (the Mirror phase) we discuss your business’s current environment – where you are today. We use three large graphical panels to encourage conversation around three main topics:

 

  • Transformation drivers – What has been or is happening in your environment to cause you to think about transformation? Are you aiming to reduce costs, improve reliability, improve service, accelerate time to market?
  • Change considerations – Apart from copying the data from the old arrays, tape library, or archive platform, what else do you have to do to enable users to consume that data? Do you need to change scripts? Re-configure applications?
  • Operational considerations – What should you be thinking about operationally to enable or improve the service offering in the new storage world?

 

It’s all well and good the IT department listing out all the hosts which connect to the old environment, cross-referencing the attached disks in a spreadsheet, and migrating the hosts as-is to the new environment. But if the main reason for starting the transformation was, say, to address poor storage utilisation or improve business continuity functionality, and the new environment doesn’t support your goal, you’re no further forward.

 

In large organisations, where the storage and platform support teams often operate in silos – separated sometimes by the walls of buildings, or even by the distance between continents – it’s not uncommon for migration programmes to fail or be delayed by a lack of communication or a clear understanding of specific configurations. And that can cause services to fail, post-migration. For example, I’ve seen several organizations where hosts each had locally developed scripts or applications that utilised the functionality of legacy hardware that was no longer supported in the new environment.

 

The HP Storage Transformation Experience Workshop brings together the various representatives of IT and the business and encourages a conversation around systems integration, so that there’s a greater likelihood that these potential pitfalls will be uncovered. The Workshop facilitators are transformation experts who know where other organizations have encountered issues, and where to steer the conversation for greatest benefit. There are two facilitators:

 

  • The Workshop Facilitator: an IT data management consultant with a well-rounded understanding of all elements of the transformation experience. He or she is the main facilitator of the Workshop.
  • The Workshop Co-facilitator: a senior consultant or solution architect with deep knowledge of the key technologies and a well-rounded understanding of all elements of the transformation process. He or she will have wide experience of the specific industry vertical.

 

In addition to the two facilitators, there’s one other representative from HP present, known as the Scribe. He or she is normally a technical pre-sales person or delivery consultant who has a relationship with the customer and a thorough understanding of the account, as well as the issues that the company faces in its specific industry vertical. The Scribe is responsible for recording the issues and decisions discussed during the workshop. This is a crucial role because it involves documenting all input from the client.

 

The last panel in the ‘Mirror phase’ is called the Operational Considerations panel. As the name implies, this is where the discussion focuses on the operational processes and procedures that are currently in place – how successful (or unsuccessful) they are, and whether they may need to be amended, removed or even replaced by new processes post-transformation. This may include things like changes to the support documentation, modifications to self-service provisioning, the introduction of compliance archiving, or scheduling of training for support personnel.

 

The As-Is statements are collected throughout this phase by the Scribe and the Facilitators; the information is entered into a reporting tool and displayed on whiteboards. At the same time, the Facilitators encourage participants to discuss not only what they see as wrong with the current situation, but also their vision for resolving the issues. Working together, we build the To-Be vision, based on what’s causing pain today.

 

Next phase – the Vision! Stay tuned for my next blog.

 

Related blogs:

 

Start out right on your storage transformation journey

 

A fast track to the best roadmap for your storage transformation

Tags: Storage
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About the Author
Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.
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