Storage Resource Analysis (SRA): Part 4

Some Fundamental Questions

Continuing the blog posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA), this post focuses on some fundamental questions around Storage Environments.

Read the entire series of posts on Storage Resource Analysis (SRA):

Part 1: Storage Resource Analysis and Storage Economics

Part 2: The IT — Storage World of 2009

Part 3: The IT — Storage Budgets of 2009

Part 4: Some Fundamental Questions

Part 5: Facts about your Data

Part 6: Inconsistencies in Storage Environments

Part 7: The Technical Case

Part 8: The Business Case

Part 9: The End Result

We will continue our quest into Storage Economics with a few questions about our environments. If you are a storage administrator, storage architect, storage capacity planner, host administrator, member of CIO’s office, CIO, Strategic Planning and Buying teams, this post is for you. Based on your environments, organizations and business units, I would suggest you send these questions to at least 3 different teams that are related to storage and have them answer these questions. To your surprise, you will see the disconnect people within various different teams have based on the roles they play.    

So what are these fundamental questions? They revolve around your entire storage environment from your Storage Assets to your Storage processes like Tiering, Chargeback’s, Capacity Planning, Trends, Forecasting, Change Control, Provisioning, Service, purchasing, etc.

To discuss a few of them,

  • How much Storage do we have in our environment?
  • How much Storage do we have at various data centers we own?
  • How many Storage assets do we own? And what type of assets?
  • How much data (primary, replication) do we have at each data center?
  • How much storage growth did we forecast for 2008?
  • How much storage did the CIO’s office purchase in 2008? Are the numbers in line?
  • How much forecast do we have for this current year 2009?
  • When was the last time we purchased something because it’s a great toy to work and play with?
  • What is the % of our Storage Allocated?
  • What is the % of our Storage Utilization?
  • What % of our Storage is virtualized?
  • How do we measure our Storage efficiency?
  • How often do we run Storage optimization exercises?
  • How many hosts are connected to our Storage Environment?
  • Do we have a long term Storage Strategy in terms of growth, technology, direction, etc?
  • How many host systems do we migrate every week, month, quarter?
  • When was the last time after a host migration or host retirement, our storage was reclaimed?
  • Do we have a process around Storage Reclamation?
  • Is our Storage Strategy in line with our overall priorities?
  • Is our Storage being managed properly?
  • Is our Storage in line with what our Consultants have advised in the past?
  • When was the last time we had an Application Outage because of Storage?
  • What was the penalty our division paid for a human mistake?
  • What was the penalty our division paid for an application outage because of Storage mis-configurations?
  • Do we use Tiering in our Storage environment?
  • Do we enforce ILM in our Storage environment?
  • How much data based on Tiering do we have in our environment?
  • How many Luns are associated with a given host in our environment?
  • What host has the most amount of Storage allocated?
  • Do we replicate data for its criticalness?
  • Do we replicate data for Compliance?
  • When was the last time we verified our site to site replication is correctly working
  • Do we have islands of storage or centralized storage?
  • Are our BCV devices smaller than your source devices?
  • Are our BCV devices larger than your source devices?
  • How do we do chargeback’s to the groups that use Storage?
  • Who paid for the last Storage hardware that was rolled into our datacenter? Who is actually using that Storage today?
  • Are we looking to purchase new Storage this month or quarter?
  • Do we need any independent help?


We manage some storage at a very large retail house. During a conference bridge meeting with the outsourcing partner of the customer who manages the entire Data center along with other storage islands, there was a basic question we asked the customer and the outsourcing partner, do you happen to know how many host systems are attached to this storage frame?

Answer comes back; it’s a development box, so we really don’t care. Upon further digging and running analysis over the next couple of days we found out that the customer had 82 host systems connected to this frame, primarily all classified as production data running on VMware and citrix infrastructure servers.

Would you like to know answers to all the questions above and develop an organization wide strategy for your Storage?

About the author

Devang Panchigar

With more than 7 Years of IT experience, Devang is currently the Director of Technology Solutions and IT Operations at Computer Data Source, Inc. Devang has held several positions in the past including Sr. Systems Engineer, Sr. Network Engineer, Technical Support Manager, Director of Storage Support & Operations. He has been responsible for creating and managing worldwide technical support teams, technology solutions team, operations management, service delivery, pre and post sales support, marketing and business planning. In his current role Devang oversees multiple aspects of the Technology Solutions Group that works with various Multinational and Fortune 500 companies providing them infrastructure services. Along with various industry certifications, Devang holds a Bachelor of Science from South Gujarat University, India and a Master of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina A&T State University.

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