Minding the store

Enterprises in the Middle East have several choices of vendors, solutions and architectures for storage virtualisation projects. However, the success of such projects may eventually depend on the organisation itself.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  May 17, 2008

It is important to ensure that whatever the management software that companies choose to use, it is not proprietary and does not lock them into a single vendor.

However, the most common mistake that enterprises make relates to data management.

While storage virtualisation can reduce complexity, it cannot do so unless the enterprise in question has a clear idea of the kind of data it produces and the criticality of each piece of data based on which it creates tiers of storage - critical data in one tier, non-critical operational data in another and archival data as the third.

Without that element of storage strategy worked out, any storage virtualisation project would be just a clear waste of time.

Getting it right

"Do not allow shiny toys to obscure the real deliverables. Check whether or not you can virtualise your infrastructure at the highest possible level to allow flexibility. Do not under any circumstances deploy virtualisation in the knowledge that it will ultimately become another stove pipe technology resigned quickly to the annals of good technology ideas," warns Gregory.

Sadly, this is easier said than done. There are several vendors in the Middle East market who offer storage virtualisation options as part of their portfolio.

The plethora of choices available in solutions and architectures means that firms can and do get confused with storage virtualisation projects.

The good news though is that these are indicators of the initial stages of a maturing market and with proper handling, can be eventually smoothed out to provide true benefits.

Enterprises should keep in mind that the success and failure of a storage virtualisation project often depends not on the vendor, the consultant or the solution but on themselves, how far they know their objectives and how resourceful they are in choosing, implementing and managing the entire project.

Top tips for storage virtualisation

1. Ask yourself - if you really need or simply want storage virtualisation technology.

2. Keep in mind - the issues or challenges you are looking to address with virtualisation technology.

3. Do your homework - on vendors and solutions available in the Middle East market.

4. Evaluate - which approach to storage virtualisation will fit your needs better.

5. Make the effort to - visit reference sites and/or competency centres. If possible, run a pilot in your organisation.

6. Make sure - you have board level support for the storage virtualisation project.

7. Perform - preparatory tasks such as calling in an external consultant, setting a storage strategy and establishing tiers for data.

8. Invest in - a good, comprehensive management solution.

9. Train - your staff for the changes that storage virtualisation will certainly bring.

10. Know - that storage virtualisation is not a static technology and keep yourself updated with the changes in the market.

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