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Storage Provisioning: Why not automate?

tipsOne of the biggest concerns of CIOs, IT managers, SAN administrators and even network engineers is the issue of storage provisioning. Storage provisioning, in a nutshell, is the process of assigning storage in order to optimize the performance of your Storage Area Network (SAN). Provisioning can be a tremendously tedious process, as any SAN administrator can tell you.

Why is storage provisioning so taxing? Well, for one, storage provisioning requires you to go through several steps, all of which must occur in a specific order. You have to assign LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers), verify that data storage and data recovery routes are available to users when they need them, create alternate routes in case of a partial failure, and make sure that the SAN can accommodate expansion. Once everything has been engineered and set up, you have to thoroughly test the SAN before you can commit your valuable data to it.

The good news is that a process known as automated storage provisioning has risen in popularity. There are a number of programs that perform automated storage provisioning. These programs are designed to lessen the workload of the SAN administrator, and to free her up for other less-tedious tasks.

There are different types of automated storage provisioning you should be familiar with. Each type represents an increasingly complex level of automated storage provisioning, and what sort your business uses depends on how intense and complex your needs are.

Application-Aware Provisioning
This sort of provisioning provides solutions for business services by adapting your storage situation to the needs of the application. For example, a given application in your organization might have threshold requirements for applications or application data. When the data or the application service level hits the threshold requirement, this type of automated storage provisioning software kicks in and alerts the SAN administrator. This kind of solution runs across virtualized volumes, providing a great deal of flexibility as well as tools that will simplify and automate the provisioning efforts.

Policy-Driven Provisioning
Another sort of automated storage provisioning is policy-driven provisioning. This type of software lets you set business-specific policies. These policies kick in to assign and to configure your storage space and paths so that the application can run properly. This kind of automated storage provisioning will help you maintain your service level objectives, also through the use of thresholds. Here again, this type fo solution will automated many of the tasks involved in expanding your SAN.

You have many choices when it comes to choosing an automated storage provisioning solution. HP is one of the most widely-praised vendors, but there are others, too.

If you want to greatly increase the reliability and service level of your Storage Area Network and free up your valuable IT resources to address other tasks, you should consider an automated storage provisioning solution.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.