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Informed CIO: Storage Automation

Aug 01, 2009

Storage Automation: 8 Questions to Ask Before Buying

Implementing automation tools and processes requires an upfront investment in funding, planning and integrity testing. But the business will reap benefits both immediately and as the footprint and complexity of storage services increase. Operationally, data protection activities, such as snapping clones and replication pairs, can often be readily automated and pay instant dividends by enhancing recoverability in the event of a data loss or corruption event. For instance, a clone of an Oracle database can be taken after a batch cycle has been completed and the database is quiesced or in hot-backup mode. Once the database is in a “backup ready” state, the automation task can be performed to create a clone of the data on a storage array. When completed, the database is restarted and resumes transaction processing. The clone can then be used to back up the Oracle database, or just as insurance against loss. The best thing is, all of this activity can be performed without human intervention and at any time of the day or night.

Not all storage tasks can be easily encapsulated and automated, of course. Activities such as provisioning and configuration, for example, require some degree of human intervention and decision-making. But by developing and documenting mature policies and procedures for storage functions that don’t require staff to be hands-on, and then seeking tools that can automate these processes reliably and consistently, CIOs can not only reduce costs but improve service execution and insulate the critical storage function against risk. (C110709)


Research Report