A Path to Storage Virtualization Success - Storage Management Standards and Service Maintenance Best Practices

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
September 5, 2013

To date we’ve blogged about how to achieve storage virtualization success by setting your scope and objectives and getting proper staff training and storage resource management. This final blog in the series discusses two more tips for storage virtualization success: establishing storage management standards and implementing service maintenance best practices.

Establish Storage Management Standards

When you establish storage management standards—including standard LUN sizes and naming conventions—you can more easily interchange similar storage subsystems, reducing complicated planning exercises. Standard configurations simplify both production environment planning and disaster recovery site recovery planning. This includes using standard storage device configurations, sensible names for zoning and zone configuration, and appropriate naming conventions for LUN creation and presentation. If possible, use some sort of identifier for the logical and physical name for a device so staff can quickly locate the physical site of a particular device.

Although you’ll experience some storage waste by moving to standard configurations, you will also save storage management costs. With standards, you can attach any server to any storage and capacity will grow based on generic configurations and standard naming conventions. As data growth occurs in this environment, you can easily manage the standard configuration. Simplification of configurations helps to reduce the storage management costs associated with managing multiple-site configurations. Storage administrators at any site understand the storage environment, which helps them address planned and unplanned downtime management activities.

Naturally, you will still have exceptions and special cases. However, when you shift your focus to the Total Cost of Ownership for the storage environment, you can manage these special cases as exceptions rather than the rule.

Implement Service Maintenance Best Practices

Storage virtualization can extend the working life of your current storage investment. However, much of the investment still needs proper maintenance and support contracts, and companies are often uncertain what assets they should replace due to their high support costs.

By providing a unified picture of actual support spending across all business applications, organizations can accurately calculate the capital and operational expenses with each application as well as the underlying application environment. This information aids budget-planning purposes and establishes proper budget and expense controls.

Additionally, you should be able to view this information from a single dashboard so corporate decision makers can see relevant maintenance and support documentation. With support contract information online, you can easily export it into other data formats such as MS Excel, PDF and XML—simplifying collaboration with peers and management teams. You will also want to view individual support contracts with detailed information comparing inventory support coverage across all manufacturers using generalized levels.

Companies will also want to view individual equipment expiration dates. Without advanced notice of pending contract expirations, along with details on connected software products, organizations will find it difficult to conduct financial analysis. When you have access to current and clear support and maintenance information, you can effectively produce a cost analysis for the support of renew versus asset/replacement decision.

And of course, properly managing any application environment requires proactively management of the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. Be sure to link hardware and software resources to reveal connections between software licensed to specific application environments.

Also, be sure to check out a recent two-part blog series on Managing your Maintenance Contracts and Costs in Six Steps.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Virtualization

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