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Storage Management

Introduction

NITConnect provides solutions which deliver lower IT costs, improved operational efficiency, and increased business competitiveness. Effective storage management is the key to meeting these challenges.

Data has become one of the most important assets for businesses today. As the data demands of e-commerce systems, mission-critical database applications, and multimedia content continue to grow, there has been an explosion in the amount of storage needed by businesses. This growth in storage requirements has led to increased complexity in the management of storage resources. This complexity, once the domain of only enterprise-sized organizations, is increasingly a burden to midsize and even relatively small businesses that have undergone dramatic data growth. Now more than ever there is a requirement for greater sophistication in storage resource provisioning and management.

Storage Management by NITConnect: An Overview

A Windows administrator tasked with storage management today faces a plethora of challenges. Due to the rapid growth of e-business and new regulatory compliance requirements, storage requirements are typically growing at a rate of 60-100% per year. Administrators are expected to protect mission critical data, ensure the data is available 24x7, and support complex applications that are increasingly demanding of storage resources

Adding to the current situation for Windows administrators, many companies still struggle to minimize the shortcomings of Direct Attached Storage (DAS). With devices locally attached to a specific server or in the server enclosure itself, performing day-to-day management tasks can become extremely complicated.

Many companies that implemented networked storage solutions in an attempt to avoid the inefficiencies of DAS have struggled with the complexity and support costs of those solutions. And the burden of managing these complicated storage environments has fallen on the shoulders of administrators.

With the introduction of a storage area network (SAN), storage systems moved to a separate network, SANs are not the only form of networked storage employed within organizations today. With the appropriate tools, multiple networked-attached storage (NAS) devices on a LAN can be pooled into a single shared storage repository. This gives administrators the benefits of centralization without the technical complexity of managing a separate storage network or switching fabric.

The Microsoft Windows Server platform can help address the needs of Windows administrators for storage management in many ways.

Storage Administration by NITConnect

We know that today businesses of all sizes need to be smarter about the way they manage their storage resources.

Regardless of the size of network or the number of people being supported, storage administration includes a common set of needs. Storage administrators need a centralized view of storage that simplifies planning, provisioning, and maintenance.

Storage administration is often viewed as a secondary task, and is not the main focus of the IT group—so IT administrators may not know the “ins and outs” of storage.

NITConnect has the ability to monitor available storage resources and generate alerts when problems arise. Based upon the monitoring and alert data generated, rich reporting and trend analyses can be created.

Storage Management Challenges

Stored data must be available on demand—usually on a 24x7 basis. And the mission-critical corporate information contained in the data must be protected from a variety of risks including hardware failures.

There are five key aspects of storage solutions that must be addressed in any storage management solution to meet the needs of business owners and Windows administrators:

  • Scalability
  • Fault tolerance
  • Data protection
  • Manageability
  • Cost effectiveness

Scalability
Direct Attached Storage (DAS) systems grow in this decentralized fashion, data can become dispersed throughout the organization. All of these factors combined create a storage system that may work as a short-term solution, but one that does not scale well in response to increasing storage demands and growing management requirements.

Fault Tolerence
24x7 worldwide access to company services and information is a necessity for many businesses today.

Clustering can also provide a way for mission-critical applications to remain online, even in cases of server failure. When hardware components fail in a clustered solution, users can be redirected to another computer with minimal loss of services.

Data Protection
While management of backups can be simplified using a centralized backup server, the time required to perform backups can conflict with the goal of 24x7 access to data. As a result, users must close their applications during backups in order for the full backup to complete successfully. As organizations produce more and more important data, these backup periods may not be frequent enough or long enough to meet the goal of keeping critical company information protected.

Manageability
Administrators in organizations that have implemented storage area networks may also be responsible for managing multi-vendor storage devices, each with a vendor-specific disk management application. Management consoles are not standardized across these systems, requiring user training on each system.

Cost Effectiveness
NITConnect can deliver cost-effective storage solutions by consolidating existing storage resources example, by consolidating 10–25 file servers into a single network-attached storage (NAS) device.

Summary
Companies need to store more data without increasing their costs. There is pressure to increase server utilization and reduce the TCO of Windows servers.

So what is the solution? Organizations addressing the above issues are moving strongly to networked storage (SAN and NAS) to simplify management. They need to define storage resource management policies and analyze how storage is being utilized. Companies need tools to help them to implement policies, manage resources, and slow down cascading storage growth. These cost savings can be directly passed on to the business, lowering total cost of ownership and ensuring the most effective utilization of existing storage resources.

File Server Resource Manager and Storage Manager for SANs are two new additions to the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 product line that help to address these needs, when used in conjunction with existing Microsoft storage technologies. For learn more contact us.

Storage Management - Scope
Looking at the list of challenges facing storage administrators from the preceding section, it is clear that the domain of storage management has a very broad scope. Therefore, storage management software solutions must include a very broad set of capabilities.

Many tasks fall under the realm of storage management. The domain of storage management includes: asset management, configuration management, data and media migration, event management, performance and availability management, media management, capacity management, charge-backs, policy management, and quota management.

With the introduction of Storage Manager for SANs and File Server Resource Manager, Microsoft has added two tools to complement existing software and address a broad range of storage management tasks.

Storage Manager for SANs

Overview
A storage area network (SAN) is defined as a set of interconnected devices (for example, disks and tapes) and servers that are connected to a common communication and data transfer infrastructure such as Fibre Channel. The purpose of the SAN is to allow multiple servers access to pooled storage—ideally, any server can potentially access any storage unit. Management of storage resources plays a large role in ensuring access for application and users. Although the market currently provides a wide variety of storage management software, NITConnect provides added value by using Microsoft storage management software.

Functionality
Microsoft developed Storage Manager for SANs to address the challenges of storage administrators discussed earlier in this document. Storage Manager for SANs supplies much-needed functionality to organizations requiring a provisioning application for smaller SANs.

Storage Manager for SANs is implemented in a familiar and easy to use GUI, based on the widely supported Microsoft® Management Console.

System Requirements for Storage Manager for SANs:
Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Summary
Companies of all sizes are searching for cost-effective solutions to their storage management challenges. With the release of File Server Resource Manager and Storage Manager for SANs, Windows administrators will find managing storage resources to be less complex and time consuming.

 

Using File Server Resource Manager, administrators can easily understand, control, and manage not only the quantity but also the different types of data stored on their servers.

Storage Manager for SANs simplifies the basics of SAN storage management, helping more organizations to achieve the benefits of SANs, including storage consolidation and flexible storage provisioning. NITConnect can customize the above solution to suit your business needs and implement the solution for you.

 

 

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