Storage management is like cleaning out the basement: You know it has to be done, but you're afraid of the unsavory things you might find down there. But for many organizations, it simply can't be put off any longer because storage environments have grown so large and complex that their effectiveness is starting to suffer.
We came across a couple of good self-help postings in the past few weeks, and while they might not have all the answers, they at least provide a good starting point to help you determine what you need and how to get it. This piece by Beth Shultz in Reseller News is aimed at organizations using virtualization and other tools to break disparate storage systems out of their respective silos. It's refreshing to see an article in a trade journal that begins with the idea that better management doesn't necessarily mean buying new stuff.
From the industry perspective, we have this from Mike Reynolds, who markets the Veritas CommandCentral storage system for Symantec. It's a good overview of storage-resource management, how to implement it and what you can expect it to do. In classic vendor fashion, a key item is the understanding the SRM is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process.
The logical unit number represents the true secret to storage management, according to this piece in Computerweekly.com. The LUN is the means by which the operating system communicates with the storage area network, basically letting the server allocate data to specific areas on a disk as easily as it selects which drive to use. The management tool that can keep track of the thousands or so LUNS created every day -- this piece mentions the EMC ControlCenter -- should be a prime consideration.
Better data management is one thing, but don't overlook improved drive management, according to a California startup called Data Robotics. The company has developed what it calls the Drobo, which I assume stands for Disk or Drive Robot. It's essentially a four-disk network-attached storage device that lets you swap drives while maintaining a normal storage presence on the network -- no need to continue provisioning new drives whenever a change is made. At $500 a pop, though, it's a fairly costly convenience.
It probably was inevitable that management became such a critical need following the dramatic increase in storage requirements demanded by both the law and the market over the past decade, a process that's still unfolding. But if you don't provide at least some semblance of order in the storage farm, you're basically throwing your data down a very expensive rat hole.