Users Are Bypassing IT to Use Cloud Services

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Users Are Bypassing IT to Use Cloud Services

While "cloud" is possibly at the peak of inflated expectations, the by-product of increased pressure on internal IT groups is real. Many companies are looking to cloud vendors who say they can deliver cheaper, faster and higher-quality services, and a lot of these vendors are public cloud providers.

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IT Budgets Do Not Grow Along With Data Stores

Storage administrator staffing isn't growing just because data is. The 2011 IDC report titled "Extracting Value from Chaos" sums this up: "IT departments will have to manage 50 times the amount of information, 75 times the number of files and 10 times the number of virtual and physical servers, with only 1.5 times the number of IT professionals to manage it all, by 2020."

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Current Management Tools Dont Get High Grades

Currently, storage management tools break down into either monitoring tools or command tools, but neither of these truly qualifies as management. Right now, storage is managed by people, and those people are being asked to deliver more with less. This has many companies considering shifting gears to storage automation. Automation is the key to achieving the twentyfold increase in productivity required to meet the predicted growth.

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Routine Processes Need to Be Automated

Storage implementation, configuration and reconfiguration are complicated. However, it's not too complicated to automate significant aspects that enable your existing storage administrative team to continue delivering a good service under increased demands.

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Service Quality Constantly Needs Updating

Automating storage processes doesn't just mean delivering more of the same; it enables higher levels of service quality and satisfaction through quicker response times, increased accuracy in the quality of services delivered and more advanced storage services.

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Look at Storage Automation One Level at a Time

There are three basic levels to storage automation: self-enabling, junior operations-enabling and customer-enabling. Self-enabling allows companies to deliver more from the same administrative team. Junior operations-enabling allows less experienced or more general IT staff to manage storage for their customers. Customer-enabling, also known as self-service, allows customers to work with storage service catalogs and implicitly manage their own storage.

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Automation Is the Best Way to Gain Control

eWEEK has written quite often that 2012 is the Year of Data Control. Automation doesn't mean losing control, but rather the opposite. By creating policies for how storage should be used and changed in accordance with vendor, community and corporate best practices, storage management can be safely delegated, enabling a private storage cloud.

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Cloud Computing Can Simplify Storage Administration

The provisioning of new storage is of primary concern with the continuing growth of data. Storage administrators shouldn't forget the amount of effort that goes into expanding existing storage, re-tiering, archiving, backup, setting up and managing replication, and possibly even cleaning up transient storage. Plus, you have to fix things that are broken. All these are open to automation, letting the experts spend more time evaluating new storage technologies and designing new storage service offerings.

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Understand Storage Requirements

Where possible, steer away from the specifics of arrays and drive types. Instead, work in terms of qualities of service-enabling automated storage services to draw storage from a number of equivalent sources while being aware of the current state of the environment in terms of capacity, performance and trends.

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Consider Self-Service Storage Portals

Companies get thousands of storage-related requests a year. Most requests average 30 to 45 minutes of work. To free up storage administrators' time, companies should consider implementing self-service storage portals to automate the process of requesting storage services. This decreases the time it takes for a business unit to request and receive new storage resources from weeks to hours.

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