Implementation Guidelines

By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2004-03-22 Print this article Print

More than with most other technology implementations, eWEEK Labs recommends that IT managers know what they are getting into before they implement a DLM solution. A companys networking products, server hardware and software may change from year to year, but businesses maintain their storage systems for years or even decades.

IT managers might be tempted to implement something quickly, to help deal with regulatory compliance, but its never a good idea to implement a system without fully understanding all of the negative and positive business impacts.

DLM is not something you can acquire by purchasing a single product. To get the most out of DLM, IT managers need to know their business processes inside and out. By using storage resource management tools or checking application logs, IT managers can get a feel for the amount of stale data in the network and also get a realistic picture of data growth.

The key to successful DLM implementation is balancing costs with business impact.

If an IT manager were to get overzealous migrating data from primary storage to slower storage tiers, the negative impact on users (having to wait a long time for data to be retrieved) could be worse financially than just buying more primary storage and migrating data less often.

For example, after initially observing performance problems, NASAs Advanced Supercomputing Division decided to keep smaller files on primary storage permanently instead of migrating them since users didnt like to wait when retrieving smaller files. (To read our Labs On-Site about the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Divisions DLM implementation, visit www.

In addition, IT managers should expect long implementation times when deploying DLM solutions. Even after all components of a DLM system have been configured, it can take weeks or even months to get all of the policies optimized.

IT departments should plan to conduct extensive trend analysis to see how the DLM components are performing and tune the systems accordingly.

Security is another concern that must be addressed when implementing DLM solutions. Because these solutions typically create multiple copies of data on different tiers of storage, its very important to ensure that each of the data repositories in a DLM implementation is secure.

For example, removable media such as tapes should be secured with encryption, to prevent the theft of data from tapes stolen from a computer room or while in transit to some off-site facility.

Decru Inc. and NeoScale Systems Inc. are among the vendors that produce useful hardware-based encryption devices to protect the data on tape.

There is no question that DLM is difficult to implement, especially during tough economic times. But if its done correctly, IT managers should be able to save money in the long run.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be contacted at

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