“The Six Million Dollar” Service Oriented Infrastructure

Our SOI becomes involved in a series of storage resource kidnapping cases culminating in a demand in a billion dollar ransom delivered from the data center’s traditional storage arrays. When the ransom is hijacked by a competing legacy mainframe, Our SOI must use the power of integration to team up with the virtualization layer’s vCloud Director to extract the storage resources from the traditional storage array’s drives through data transfer technology.

Storage Automation

Storage automation is the ability to assign time-intensive and/or repetitive storage operations into a prescribed procedure that can be initiated by some event or the command of an IT administrator.  Based on the dynamic provisioning, automation relies on the core intelligence applied in storage orchestration to automate complex operational tasks in a seamlessly integrated process.  By integrating existing storage management techniques, organization can define policies for storage allocation, dynamically provision storage (resulting in error-free, timely and automatic process for improved business efficiency and operations).  Once a policy can be articulated, it can be automated.  Once it is automated, it can be encapsulated into executable containers that have different economic values based on characteristics of the automation and the supporting storage efficiencies that are integrated into the automation construct.

Storage automation is a natural extension to storage orchestration as shown in Figure 9. It is comprised of three core elements that are essential to designing and deploying catalogs of standard storage services that have defined service level agreements, protection policies, and can be extended through integrations from third-party vendors.

Figure 9) Storage Automation

Blog post - SMD - figure9

  • Data Availability:  continued access to the storage being consumed is a fundamental element to storage automation.  Encapsulating data availability (aka data protectection) policies into the way the storage is automatically provisioned not only means the business units have access to an end-to-end storage protection solution for critical business storage assets, it also means that data protection becomes a repeatable element of the overall storage provisioning process.  THis means IT organizations have a quantitative view of backup windows, snapshot requirements, backup/recover, disaster recovery, data replication and hierarchical storage management attributes of the storage that is provisioned (did I mention that it is encapsulated as part of the overall definiton of how the storage is provisioned???).
  • Storage Access Management: encapsulating the method in which consumers connect and interact with the storage reduces the additional complexities associated with isolated storage tasks.  With isolated storage approaches, considerations must be applied to exporting, zoning, path management, protocols, etc.  Consider now the value of binding the manner in which the provisioned storage is accessed into the definition.  Incorporating the communication path into the automation of storage provisioning means that IT organizations can implement new protocols non-disruptively through the use modified automation profiles, organize service level agreements based on data access pathways, and set consumer-expectations that regardless of protocol, access to the provisioned storage is available to solve their business need.  And that’s waht it is about, the business unit owner things in terms of what the applicaiton n to the storage consumers that a ubiquitous set of protocols are available to the provisioned storage, regardless of how they choose to interact with it.
  • Storage Resource Management: centralized management of the automation profiles is essential to the applications and/or organizations that consume them.  In this paper, we introduced VMware’s vCloud Director as a means to manage containers of resources bound by a defined SLA for which organizations consumed to augment the server infrastructure to support the development of intellectual property or to host the applications that are key to their success.  Storage resource management then provides the same features to the virtualization layer.  Through storage service catalogs, these profiles define the characteristics of the storage, the SLAs and the protection policies that can be expected from their use.  A central repository for the creation, execution and management enables a holistic view of how the profiles are used and evolve.

Storage Analysis

Orchestration and automation, when successfully implemented, improves the operational costs associated with storage management.  IT administrators spend less time managing the day-to-day aspects of storage associated activities, and organizations benefit from having provisioned storage resources that have a certain level of predictable performance wrapped with a defined set a features that they can rely on.  These two side effects enable the injection of analytics into the process.  IT administrators can begin monitoring the effects of orchestration and automation and adjust or fine-tune the policies across the entire virtualized infrastructure stack.

Whew…. that was a long post.  Sorry folks.  Trying to keep things trimmed can be a pain, especially where there is a lot to say in such a wide-open topic.  The lie is set for next week, and that will close off this series.  Thanks for reading.

By “Connect with Scott”

Read more about it: http://blogs.netapp.com/virtualutopia/scott-baker.html 


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