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January 13, 2010


David Vellante

You've been busy today Chuck... :-) Definitely a better model is in order I agree 100%. We were talking about that after the Wikibon call. Who wants to manage a zillion point tools...or even two really good ones?

Give the world Ionix integration w/vm that tells me what resources the virtual environment is consuming, how much, where and how is that trending. And provide an infrastructure manager that is unified and can be delivered as a service and you will make people very happy - I agree. And I also agree that is a better model. And I also believe this is where you are headed...great vision and probably lots of activity around this; today.

Having said that when a SAN manager has been struggling with storage growth of 15X over three years and he finds a practical solution to the problem-- I'm all ears...I'm sure you are too.

I also believe he'd think what you're doing is great and he'd say "give me a call when you're there."

Stuart Savill

Hi Chuck,

Great post around management - and i think it is an area that requires some real focus over the next few years.

The real interest to myself here is the huge paradigm shift that is occurring as a result of technologies such as: de-dupe, compression, thin snap, fat-to-thin, thin provision tools that are emerging (the list continues...) ways of reporting need to change drastically.

The storage admin's role has now got hugely more complex as he/she now has to (as an example) understand how well a given dataset will de-duplicate (or compress or thin provision etc...) we no longer think just about how much physical space is left, and our $/TB cost (physical tin) - we need tools that can report on this effectively..

Gone are the days where we can plan purely on physical TB's per application and from a capex perspective we need to stop thinking about $/TB physical and shift to a model where we can monitor and charge on $/TB of data stored.

I would offer that any tool set is far from able to offer this level of insight - and whilst the technology is there to do some of this "good stuff" that ability to be able to report to our senior management around how great a job it is doing - well, just does not exist...

Finally - these tools (and their ability to understand how data has been treated in terms of thin prov / de-dupe etc) is essential to the storage vendor to be able to prove to their customer they they really are getting the value add (and give the real motivation to keep their custom).

so back to your title - i still believe that you need the better tools before you can model appropriately (or integrate the functionality).

If you are interested - wrote a blog entry on this subject that can be found at: http://www.stuiesav.com/2010/01/measuring-cost-of-storage.html

Thanks for reading,


Martin G

Firstly, we need to move from Storage Administration to Storage Management; the act of allocating storage etc has actually got easier. This is no longer a black art. Most of the administration tools are there or there about.

The SRM tools are basically still no better than spreadsheets in many cases and whilst for years, spreadsheets could do the job, they no longer can (well certainly without building incredibly complex ones). New features such as DeDupe, Thin Provisioning bring another dimension to Storage Management. Physical storage is meaning less and less when it comes to measuring how data is stored. So whilst for years we have tolerated poor SRM tools because most of our time was taken up keeping the storage estate running; we can no longer tolerate the fairly poor toolsets which are currently considered to be state of the art.

And without these tools, it is impossible to show the value that these new features are bringing to us. And without these tools, many storage managers are left in fear of the new features because they believe that overcommitment of storage, be it by thin provisioning or dedupe leaves them extremely exposed and they don't know what their ratios are etc.

Who'd be a Storage Manager?

Chuck Hollis

Hi Martin

On your first point on moving from storage administration to storage management, I'd agree. Provisioning is getting easy. It's the rest of the equation that's hard.

On your second point, I'd also agree. Underlying storage capabilities (insert long list here) have outstripped the management tools, which were none to robust to begin with. So we've made a bad problem worse, or at least temporarily.

And your final point is most telling: it's all about delivering outcomes. And, if you're a storage manager (not administrator), you need the toolsets that help you deliver the outcomes you need to the people who depend on you.

That being said, there's plenty of fuzz around what might be the ideal separation of roles and responsibilities going forward. How much of "storage management" needs to be taken on by the virtual machine administrator? The service delivery administrator?

Thanks as always ...

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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