• United States

A storage wish list – better late than never

Jan 03, 20066 mins
Data Center

* What an IT director might wish for from a storage Santa Claus

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you again this year. I am 8 years old. Still. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in the storage newsletter, it’s so.” He is an IT director. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? If there is, please give him this wish list from Papa.

Dear Santa,

I would really like the following for Christmas. If that is not possible, I would be glad to accept them for Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Arbor Day or Midsummer Night’s Eve.

1. A consistent definition for Continuous Data Protection (CDP), which lets everyone know that the technology has everything to do with tracking change events and nothing at all to do with making time-based copies. Right now, the way some vendors use the term, “CDP” might just as well mean “Changed Definition [not] Product.”

2. A really good way to manage my company’s e-mail, good enough so that I can retrieve a single message from the Exchange or Notes archive without having to restore the entire database. Also, it would be awfully nice if it were simple enough to use so that users could recover from their own mistakes without having to involve the help desk team.

3. On the subject of help desk involvement and recoveries… How about a recovery tool that lets users pull data back from an archive (or at least from a near-line copy) by themselves? I know this wouldn’t work for all applications or for all users, but think of the operational expenditures I could save if we could judiciously apply such an approach to appropriate apps and users.

4. For all managers, an accurate way to track tapes shipped off site, and the wisdom (and time) to ship them in encrypted format.

5. For the sake of all of us, please push the Storage Industry Networking Association (SNIA) to extend the SMI-S standard to NAS devices sooner rather than later. I realize that standards approval and certification are time-consuming and laborious processes, but come on guys, the NAS vendors have been dancing around the standards issue for years now and they still aren’t there. Soon, please!

6. And while the SNIA is fresh in my mind, please leave some coal in the SNIA’s collective stocking if they don’t finish their work on finding a standardized way to manage fixed content data. After all, we keep this stuff around for a long time, but hardware comes and goes. We need a way to simplify both the migration between platforms and the day-to-day management process.

7. I run a big shop here, so please get me a compass, a map, a GPS and a set of two-way radios to help me keep track of my team while they are out trying to identify faults. Alternatively, I’d probably be just as happy with some tools that will do a good job identifying the root cause of problems as they occur across my systems. This means an ability to correlate the events on the storage systems, but also it means the having the capability to understand problems within the more generalized context of the networks, the servers and the applications that I use. It’s impossible to optimize my environment when I can only understand events discretely, and not within the context of my overall IT system.

8. For G in Omaha, someone to provide adequate surveillance over the loading dock.

9. It would be great to have one of those nifty Wide Area File Services (WAFS) packages that will let me pass data efficiently and cheaply between remote offices and the central IT site here at corporate headquarters.

10. Some blade servers would be useful, but only those that allow me to manage storage efficiently across several server chassis. And P.S., it would be nice if those blade servers provided lots of storage without putting me to the expense of having to provide enough power to light the city of Chicago, and without generating enough heat to melt platinum.

11. For Barb in New Jersey, an end to the three-way battle between the DBAs, the storage admin, and network admins at her site.

12. Find me the time to encrypt data before I send it off site, or at least get me some technology that encrypts data more efficiently so we can get the archiving done before the backup window slams shut.

13. Please have someone from the corporate legal department give me some guidance about which data I can keep and which I can throw away.

14. Here’s an old request, but you never came through with it the last time I asked, so: please do some quick gene-splicing and create for me some new staffers who are much brighter than the ones I have now, and who are guaranteed to work for cheap and who will not make mistakes. (I used to think my team was really good, but we changed some systems last week and the new configurations have crashed a half-dozen times even though my guys were careful as they could be when they rewrote the scripts). If you can’t do this, Santa, I’ll be just as happy if I find some really good automation software in my stocking.

15. For Ken in Toronto, two things: better support from his service provider, and a hockey team he can believe in again (he’s obviously had it with Movie Night in Canada).

16. Continued improvement in the economy, so that all my friends out there can find jobs they enjoy, and so that businesses can continue to enhance their investment in storage infrastructure.

17. And finally, give me the ability to sleep at night (get me any three of the above, and I’m pretty sure this will follow).

Santa, these are reasonably straightforward requests.

If you will get me the things I ask for, I will be really good for the next four quarters, and I promise to live up to all my service-level agreements and to justify each of my purchases with a really great ROI analysis so my CFO can understand what I am doing.

Thanks Santa

P.S. Please don’t smoke your pipe in the computer room. We are all sorry about that business with the Halon last year.