RFP 2.0: How to Build a Future-Ready IT Infrastructure

By Manish Goel  |  Posted 2010-09-20

RFP 2.0: How to Build a Future-Ready IT Infrastructure

Every new infrastructure investment represents an opportunity to position your company for the future. Today's virtualization, cloud-based IT services, cost containment and green IT initiatives require storage that is more adaptable than ever before. The key is asking the right questions in your request for proposals (RFPs) and requiring vendors to provide measurable proof that they can deliver on these new IT realities.

The new RFP should reflect seven key purchase criteria to help you make the best storage decisions for your business. These criteria enable a shared virtual infrastructure and the flexible IT foundation needed to remain competitive. This new buying criteria gives you the knowledge to build an architecture that can seamlessly move from supporting today's most demanding applications to powering tomorrow's on-demand service delivery model.

Solutions that deliver on these seven essential points will provide the flexibility, efficiency and future-proof foundation required to help your business:

Point No. 1: Unified architecture

Constant change is the nature of business. A flexible architecture that supports multiple protocols including Network File System (NFS), Common Internet File System (CIFS), iSCSI, Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) ensures a flexible foundation to meet any business demand. One architecture must be able to handle all work loads and requirements-current and future.

Point No. 2: Scalability

A storage infrastructure has to be able to scale on the fly as business demand grows and data increases. A successful IT architecture should deliver extreme efficiency that increases with scale and extreme flexibility that sustains no matter the growth of a business. The ability to scale instantly in multiple dimensions-performance, capacity and operationally-is essential to meet business demands.

Integrated Data Protection

Point No. 3: Integrated data protection

As a successful business grows, risk increases. Data protection must be completely integrated and automated into any architecture. True, integrated data protection enables administrators to "set it and forget it" so that critical business information is safeguarded.

Point No. 4: Nonstop operations

Keeping a business running 24/7 without disruption is essential. Behind the scenes, IT departments that can perform necessary functions with speed and ease can respond faster to business demands. Capacity and performance expansion, load balancing, testing, upgrades and all other IT tasks should be quick, seamless and completely transparent to users.

Point No. 5: Secure multitenancy

With virtualization, multiple tenants now sit on the same physical infrastructure, requiring new ways to address security and administrative issues. Solutions that provide secure, end-to-end, multitenancy across applications are essential to take advantage of a shared infrastructure.

Storage Efficiency

Point No. 6: Storage efficiency

Storage efficiency isn't just one thing; it's a way of thinking. It requires solutions with a combination of capabilities that maximize operational, organizational and business efficiency. Highly efficient solutions enable users to store the most data for the lowest cost, significantly reduce data center space requirements (and power and cooling costs), complete tasks in less time with fewer people and respond instantly to business demands.

Point No. 7: Service automation

As IT departments move from supporting terabytes to petabytes, automation becomes more and more critical. Improved processes and solutions should enable IT to manage it all with the push of a button.

Setting the bar high and making purchasing decisions based on these seven criteria will enable you to achieve flexible IT so organizations can respond on-demand and do more, faster-while driving measurable business value. Flexible IT keeps pace with the speed of changing business requirements, moving IT from a cost center to a strategic business function and enabling a business to better serve its customers.

Manish Goel is Executive Vice President of Product Operations at NetApp. In this role, Manish oversees product strategy and development across all business units that span the product portfolio. Previously, he was general manager of the software products group at NetApp. Manish joined NetApp in 2002 as senior director of corporate development. He later moved to India to set up the technology center for NetApp. Upon his return from India, Manish assumed the role of vice president of enterprise accounts.

Prior to working at NetApp, Manish led corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, and business development for Cadence Design Systems and Copper Mountain Networks. Prior to that, Manish spent four years as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company and six years as a systems software engineer. Manish holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Master's degree in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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