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Storage Management is only viable with visibility.  Visibility takes many different forms: business volume, database volume, legal discovery volume, infrastructure volume (server, storage, network, etc.), marketing volume, business intelligence volume, and so forth. You cannot manage that which you do not monitor, and you cannot monitor that which you are unaware of. While DFS and hardware thin provisioning are good tactical solutions, they are only covering the root cause, ineffective or no Enterprise Capacity Planning ( http://blog.engagedconsulting.com/?p=54 ).


Couple Enterprise Capacity Planning with true Enterprise Architecture which has a Future State Architecture in place and you have a winning solution. Programs do take time to develop and maintain; however, once the investment (time and effort) is made the payoff is the severe reduction in events like this happening and improper “quick fixes” or patches (bubble gum and balling wire).

The balancing act that must be understood is weighing efficiency and long term cost. For instance, hardware thin provisioning is great initially. It is like going on a diet. Without a rigorous maintenance program, you are right back where you started and more. Thin provisioning must be a lifestyle change. Again, converge hardware and software thin provisioning with an information life-cycle program. This means you have to:

  1. identify appropriate service criteria
  2. define storage classes
  3. build future state architecture / technology framework
  4. define information classification (value to the organization over time (customer records, financial records, personal identifiable information, executive communication, intellectual property, etc.)
  5. define data classification (bits / bytes / types of files (xls / ppt / etc.))
  6. classify data
  7. classify information
  8. select the appropriate technology to compliment the people and processes
  9. formalize service level agreements
  10. deploy an architecture to manage information and data in an automated fashion from creation to access to archive to deletion

This must also be done within the context of establishing information management policies from a business perspective that have standards, rules, governance, and operational controls.

Getting control of an environment does dictate visibility into orphaned storage (provisioned but not claimed), configured storage, available storage, storage type comparison (Direct Attached Storage (DAS) vs. Storage Area Network (SAN), etc.), application storage utilization (i.e. database, SAP, etc.), and change metrics from both the array (bottom up) perspective as well as the server (top down) perspective.

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