Save money managing storage effectively

How much tools do you use to manage your storage environment.

On average the storage admin uses 5 tools to manage a storage infrastructure.

1. Host tools (for getting host info like used capacity, volume configs etc.)
2. HBA tools (some OS’es don’t have a clue around that)
3. Fabric tools (extremely important)
4. Array tools (even more important)
5. Generic tools (for getting some sort of consolidated overview. Mainly Excel worksheets :-))

Sometime storage management is performed like below:

As you can see thing can become quite complicated when storage infrastructures grow and you’ll need a bigger whiteboard. At the point you have an enterprise storage infrastructure you’ll probably need a bigger building and a lot more whiteboards. 🙂

So what is the best way?

One word:

Integration, Integration, Integration, Integration.

The database boys know this for a long time. Don’t store the same information twice. This is called Database Normalization.
The same thing applies to storage management tools. Make sure that you use tools that have an integrated framework which leverages as much components as possible.

In case you’re using Hitachi kit is pretty easy. Their entire Hitachi Storage Command Suite works together and share single configuration repositories. The best thing is they do that even across their entire array product line from SMS to USP-V and even from two generations ago (so that includes the 9900 and 9500 series) This way other modules can make use of this. The other benefit is that you only have to deploy single host agents to obtain host info like volumes, filesystems, capacity usage etc and have that shared across all different products. Now be aware there is no silver bullet for managing all storage from a single pane of glass if you have a heterogenious environment. Every vendor has it own way of doing things and although the SNIA is making good progress with SMI-S it’s still lacking much of the nifty features storage vendors have released lately.

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