IT Storage Management

By Mohan Shetty , AVP & Head-IT Infra & Ops, Birla Sun Life Insurance

The principles of storage remain true in Organization from IT perspectives. No matter you consider any verticals, banks, insurance, hotels, education, telco, hospitals and many others. The reasons for increment in storage are due to multiple factors some of the common factors are:
1. Business Growth 
2. Compliance and regulations
3. Paper Less Office Management system
4. Social Media activities
5. E Mail communications
6. Demands from staff 
7. Disaster Recovery (Near and Far DR)

It is the responsibility of IT Managers and CIOs to make sure the business needs as regards storage is concerned is met with and it needs lot of thoughts and discussions with business and once the predictions are done for period of 3 to 5 years, decision on storage is taken by CIO / IT managers. The decisions are done based on capacity needed today and growth in next 5 years. In my views, one must consider the following factors before investment on technology and brand/ models.

1. Reliability/ brand of products
2. Availability – Technical aspects like NSPF (No Single Point of Failures)
3. Scalability – To add more without any down time
4. Usability – Ease of operation and management by internal team, integration with multiple hardware and protocols
5. Manageability – in terms of Remote support, integration with tools like help desk , ticket system , report management 
6. Security – Data safety in terms of encryption, controls, partitioning 
7. Performance - for IOP/ Back up and replication facilities 
8. Price -Price/ GB of storage

As part of ongoing activities and as manager, one must have right process and documentation for usage of storage and appropriate assignment for various activities like User Data folders, E Mail folders, ERP database management, DMS related activities. This defiantly needs lot of experience and talents as business dynamics change quote often. 

You as decision maker also get the following challenges:
1. Decision on In-house or Cloud solutions for business. In my views if business needs are 15 months or more, In-house pays off (consider one of the above 8 parameters and you get your answers).
2. Which brand and which model to select , as one has multiple choices like IBM , Dell ,EMC , HP , Hitachi, Fujitsu and many more. Also within them, there are multiple models to meet business needs. 
3. Define Service Levels with suppliers and get the same signed off by OEM/ Partners in terms of deliverables and services. 
4. Back up management and technology to use, as this depends on company’s RTO/ RPO needs.
5. Check on Space/ Rack space/ UPS/ Cooling/ DG Set/ Cabling in Data Center.

Multiple tools and videos are available on Internet which can help take the right business decisions for using the storage and managing the same, one must take note of all the parameters before taking the final call on purchase/ rent out model along with make - model and partner selection. 

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