Storage Resource Management, Utilization and Optimization

By Stephen Wojtowecz  |  Posted 2011-01-31 Print this article Print

Item No. 2: Storage resource management (SRM), utilization and optimization

An easy way to visualize storage in the cloud is thinking of it as a huge warehouse. However, this design can obscure visibility into individual storage elements. For example, over time, a cloud service provider may add new storage systems from different vendors, choosing the best products available at the time of purchase. How can you tell which devices are performing as expected and which are creating service delivery bottlenecks?

Although storage resources are shared in a cloud, they still require management based on accurate, timely information. Cloud administrators need tools capable of aggregating and displaying that information, then acting on it in a centralized, optimized way that fulfills business goals. By giving administrators consolidated control over storage systems, storage networks, replication services and capacity management, it restores that visibility to help storage managers establish available capacity, evaluate security, correlate backup/restore performance to Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and perform many other necessary functions.

Data protection in the cloud

Cloud services rely heavily on keeping data and applications continuously available. Failure to provide access due to data disasters (such as database corruption, virus attack, and hardware failure or local/regional disasters) could be catastrophic to any organization. Data protection processes such as backup and recovery need to be designed into cloud environments from the start-not added later. Before establishing your cloud infrastructure, it's important to be familiar with technologies and products used for storage management, protection and disaster recovery.

It's possible to obtain storage and protection services from companies that specialize in storage-assuming they provide management, data protection and disaster recovery among its services. However, outsourcing storage and applications can put your company at risk.

For example, what would happen if your critical applications and cloud data are hosted on a system that experiences a major failure? You should ensure that your service provider is performing backups as often as necessary to meet contracted Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs), which is what an organization determines is an "acceptable loss" in a disaster situation. You must also have tested the restore processes to meet contracted RTOs, which is the duration of time in which business processes must be restored after a disaster or disruption to maintain business continuity.

Stephen "Woj" Wojtowecz is Vice President of Storage Software Development for a suite of solutions offered by IBM Tivoli. Stephen has enjoyed a 20-year career with IBM in various management roles that has included all areas of software design, development, strategy, marketing, sales, support and services. Stephen has a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He can be reached at

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