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6 Principles for Enterprise Storage Provisioning

storageOne of the biggest challenges facing the enterprise is storage provisioning. With so many stakeholders maintaining interest in your enterprise’s storage, you need to understand and follow several important principles. These principles will help you in a number of ways, not the least of which is helping to make sure that your company is able to do business efficiently and without a significant interruption of service in business-critical areas.

Here are several principles to follow when it comes to enterprise storage provisioning:

1.    Communication is primary. Those stakeholders each have a vested interest in what happens with your storage. Keeping the lines of communication open, not just between IT and departmental stakeholders but also between individual stakeholders, is essential to creating the right kind of provisioning approach. By building a provisioning team out of those stakeholders, you spread responsibility and ownership for the storage function.

2.    Standardize when possible. The harsh reality of IT today is that environments are heterogeneous. Whenever it’s feasible, though you should try to standardize between classes of storage. The key here is not to impact the functionality of a given solution, and not to force hegemony where it really doesn’t belong.

3.    Keep data storage security at the top of your priority list. Whether it’s something simple like making sure that your organization’s password policy is implemented on your array element manager, or whether it’s something more complex like SAN infrastructure security, you need to practice due diligence in this area. Make sure that the interfaces for your enterprise storage management system and the interface for your SRM package are on a management network, isolated from the rest of the enterprise’s computing resources. Don’t ever let those management functions out onto the public network.

4.    Use updated storage provisioning tools. If you have a maintenance contract for your storage management solution, you may be eligible for free upgrades. As is usually the case with management software, newer editions usually have a more intuitive interface, more useful configuration wizards and a greater capacity for automation.

5.    Don’t forget to provision a sizable amount of storage for the virtualized servers. Do what you need to give the virtual server team the tools it requires to dissect the storage pool into smaller units of storage that can be accessed by individual virtual machines. This will let your storage admins not have to deal with provisioning each and every new virtual machine. Unless you have an application that needs to directly be able to communicate with the array, stick with the VMs.

6.    Look into thin provisioning. Thin provisioning is a great way to improve storage utilization. By using thin provisioning, you can offer sizable chunks of storage space to the server that will only actually be allocated when it is being used.

Above all, always check your provisioning decisions against your business purposes. Your storage needs are a means to an end, and only one element of what makes your company able to do what it does.

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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.