Second, once the tool is deployed and accessing data, what exactly will it do and how will it perform? Determining file and database type by its file name extension is one thing; cracking each of them open to examine and index their contents for specific data is quite another. This type of activity almost surely introduces performance overhead on the server and possibly impacts application performance. Also determine how often, deep and efficiently these scans and indexes will run. Scanning an entire 300MB file to locate only a couple of changed bytes may not be the best use of system resources.
Finally, ask yourself what types of files and databases will it classify? For example, if it only scans and indexes 63 percent of the files and databases in your environment, is that enough? And if not, will you need more than one tool to meet your objectives?
Data classification is another necessary step in the ongoing evolution of storage management, but before anyone heads too far down the path of ILM, make sure that your plan has more thought behind it than some vendor's PowerPoint presentation.
SIDEBAR: Building a Storage Transformation Road Map
The basic components of a storage strategy road map by Jim Damoulakis
Building a storage road map begins with three elements: a starting point, a destination and an understanding of the gap between points A and B.
A complete picture requires an honest assessment of four areas: people, process, technology and business demands. Typically, organizations have identifiable strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas. From this assessment several strategic initiatives should emerge and a series of projects associated with each initiative identified.
Essentially, the road map is a prioritized timeline of these projects and activities designed to first stabilize key problem areas, then to optimize high priority functions, and finally improve overall manageability of the environment. Prioritization of individual projects should be based on the following criteria.
Business value: Consideration must be given to the most pressing current problem areas, as well as longer-term service and efficiency improvements. In the world of storage this might include storage availability and recoverability issues, improving processes such as provisioning, or increasing utilization.
Cost: It is inevitable that some items of high importance will be more costly to achieve than others. Budget realities that need to be weighed may result in pushing some projects further out on the timeline.
Level of effort: How difficult is the project to implement - how long will it take, what resources are required, what is the overall impact from a change management perspective.
Organizational readiness: Is the organizational structure in place - the right people in the right roles - to ensure project success. This is an area where a surprising number of companies fall short. They invest in technology, but do not establish the organizational functions needed to maximize the value of their investment.
Internal and external dependencies: A project may depend on the completion of another project on the road map or an event external to the storage road map - a data centre expansion, for example.
Any road map is highly customized to an organization and should be reviewed and adjusted annually, as required.
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