Storage Through the Looking Glass

By Tony Lock and Dale Vile

Getting storage onto the business agenda

Storage has historically been one of the least glamorous of technology areas. If you start out with the serious matter of business processes at the top of the stack, then work your way down through critical applications, high tech middleware, servers that power everything, and database management systems that organise and retrieve our precious information, you eventually end up at the bottom with storage – essential but not something to get excited about.

Well at least that’s the perception of many who are not directly involved in the area.

That is until recently, when some have started realising that it’s not a case of ‘storage, is storage, is storage’. How the organisation’s valuable electronic assets are ultimately held and managed both physically and logically really does matter, and its importance is growing day by day. Use the right approach to storage and it becomes possible to do new things that have a direct and positive business impact, including potentially dramatic cost avoidance. Use the wrong approach and risks, costs and overheads can run out of control, possibly causing tangible business damage. Run out of storage or lose precious data, and the consequences can be disastrous.

But the changing nature of the storage game, whether looked at from a requirements perspective or from the viewpoint of technology and best practice evolution, is not broadly understood – especially by business people. Even those in IT responsible for storage often don’t get the chance to step back from the day to day pressures and practicalities to look at the bigger picture.

With this in mind, our aim in this paper is to help you take that much needed step away from the detail and create some perspective. We reframe the storage discussion from one of technology operations to business enablement. So, if you are interested in raising the profile of the information storage discipline in your organisation, and making compelling business cases for investment in better tools and technology whilst showing cost savings to the business, then this is a paper for you.

The contents of this paper are based on extensive research into the evolution of storage requirements and associated technology conducted by Freeform Dynamics. The discussion presented incorporates insights derived from large scale surveys and in-depth conversations with IT and business professionals, as well as comprehensive briefings with technology vendors and service providers. The paper was sponsored by IBM.

Content Contributors: Dale Vile & Tony Lock

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Tony is an IT operations guru. As an ex-IT manager with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, his extensive vendor briefing agenda makes him one of the most well informed analysts in the industry, particularly on the diversity of solutions and approaches available to tackle key operational requirements. If you are a vendor talking about a new offering, be very careful about describing it to Tony as ‘unique’, because if it isn’t, he’ll probably know.