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Is requesting storage like buying a car?

We ran out of storage on one of our batch servers the other week, so another 100gb was requested in order to resolve this, with the agreement the application team would clear down old logs/application data, then the drive would be defragmented using diskeeper, it’s a really good defragmentation tool which works on SAN/NAS etc.

So I walked over to the storage team and the following conversation occurred:

I need 100gb for server8, can you provide this for me? I asked

“Yes, that’ll be..” responded the storage guy.

At this point storage guy got his calculator, pressed a whole lot of buttons on it, then typed some commands on his unixy looking telnet thing, pressed some more buttons… (like when you ask for a discount when you buy a car, you know can I have £500 off, and the sales guy gets his calculator)

“That’ll be a lun of 13x8gb volumes you’ll need” Said the nice storage man.

How long will that take? I asked

“A couple of hours, allow half a day, if we need it quickly, two hours” Replied storage guy.

At this point I must interrupt. The storage guys are a key part of the team, and provide a vital role, they’re invaluable in the platform delivery process, and I can’t fault them, they need to ensure the storage remains industrial strength for all it’s users.

However, two things, why is it so complicated? Why does it take so long?

On a filer I type a few commands as instructed by filer guy, some magic things happen and suddenly I’ve got an extra 30GB.

With virtualization of the storage infrastructure this should change, there will still be the storage guys, who’ll type in a few commands, however he’ll say give me 100gb to the storage manager tool (like Netapps OnTap)which will handle everything else, ok, volumex1 has 100gb, there you are.

With this then, we’re bringing the storage platform in line with the business need, we’re saying you want more storage, fine, next.

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2 Responses to “Is requesting storage like buying a car?”

  1. Rosie Buyer says:

    Requesting storage is nothing like buying a new car if no one talks specs or price. Are you given free cars, free software or just free storage?

    How about bringing the application platform in line with business need? With server virtualization, surely you can now size, specify and deploy a new app as quickly as a NetApp file server creates new file shares?

    So you want a new business app? Fine, next project…
    More like 18 months of spec changes then an extra Gigabyte a week,
    and they you leave it to real women to go and do your shopping…

    Virtualization?
    Go back to secondlife and let real women run the real world!

  2. martin says:

    Some cool comments.

    The post is mean to highlight an ongoing challenge, a perception problem. As we virtualize the infrastructure, the perception that the build/configuration process is easier and quicker to do becomes apparent, that in a physical world, I’ll wait a few days to have my server racked and built, in a virtual world, I’ll question the build time, because surely it’s a matter of loading an image pressing a few buttons etc.

    Business is getting faster, with that comes the need of faster on time IT, and the way things seem to be going, if IT can’t provide it, we’ll find someone that can.

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