Waiting for Storage Automation

Arthur Cole

Enteprise Storage Forum posed an interesting question for those on the hunt for full data center automation this week.


With server automation delivering all manner of benefits to those who can afford it -- everything from daily management, provisioning, patching and reconfiguration -- why is interest in storage automation so lackluster?


Although storage automation is still relatively new, firms like Onaro, Opsware and EMC have developed systems that greatly simplify provisioning and other management tasks.


One problem is that most enterprises are a patchwork of heterogeneous storage environments, each with their own management stacks and interconnections to suit their own (the vendor's) purposes. Without a set of standardized interfaces, it's virtually impossible for a single automation regime to emerge.


And that's a shame because one of the biggest drains on data center efficiency is the legions of control systems and techies needed to run them. A single, overarching management system directing servers, storage and networking sure would be a nice turn of events.

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Oct 4, 2007 12:45 PM Bryan Semple Bryan Semple  says:
(Disclaimer - I am a vendor mentioned in the article )I think the word "storage automation" may be too literally applied to the actual act of provisioning storage. While this is important, there are many, many other processes and steps that take place in the environment that can be automated. Take basic troubleshooting when an application goes down. How many manual process checks are required to determine what actually happened? This is one of many areas of automation that can take place today in advance of standardized interfaces. Reply
Nov 7, 2007 7:06 PM Sal Sal  says:
Youre point is well made but I dont think many people realize the importance of having rock solid ITIL automation in place. ITIL is often overlooked in the face of things like run book automation and various other automation tools which is a real shame because this can server as a foundation for your whole network. Without ITIL in place you can run into a lot of problems that will ultimately drive you crazy. Right now everyone seems to be IT automation crazy which is a good things but I often see the beginning of the process overlooked. It seems to be a common mistake and problem that leaves people scratching their heads. Server provisioning will help you determine how extensive your itil needs to be. As you said here, do plenty of research, take your time and dont be afraid to look at alternative automation solutions. Reply
Nov 21, 2007 12:03 PM Lawrence Lawrence  says:
IT Automation certainly has earned a place in the hearts of many a company. Youre right though, it can be an expensive process to implement and in some respects to maintain but allowing your network to improve application availability on its own makes the process well worth it. I think a lot of companies miss the point on data base automation. Its a long term saving, not a short term quick cash saver. I mean, come onwho can say no to a network handling provisioning, patching and reconfiguration all on its own? Anyone who knows anything about IT would surely tell you its always worth the price. Reply

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