I enjoyed a detailed converation with Yaniv Valik, Director of Professional Services of Continuity Software, about how difficult is has become to keep systems running. We also discussed the release of AvailabilityGuard/SAN — a product designed to deal with complex storage area networks.
Today's applications are now built upon a complex mix of services that are hosted on physical, virtual or hybrid computing environments. Services may be replicated and be hosted in several places in and out of an enterprise's network. These services are themselves likely to be made up of multiple elements as well. The company has long focused its efforts on making these services available and reliable.
Valik pointed out that most SANs have themselves become complex as enterprises mix and match components made by many different suppliers. Furthermore, he pointed out, it is quite likely that different support teams are responsible for pieces of this environment. This means that it is likely that configuration errors are likely to happen as IT administors try to keep up with configuration standards set by suppliers of servers, operating systems, storage servers, networking equipment and virtualization technology. He pointed out that many enterprises keep up with settings using a simple spreadsheet.
Continuity Software suggests that the following steps be taken to make sure that storage services are reliable and available.
- The SAN fabric should be verified on a regular, perhaps daily, basis
- The configuration should be validated to make sure that simple configuration changes don't introduce single points of failure or introduce unintended downtime.
- Any proposed changes to storage configurations should be reviewed to consider the potential impact they might have on the IT operations of the enterprise.
- The SAN configuration should be reviewed from end-to-end on a regular basis
Valik pointed out that Continuity Software's AvailabilityGuard/SAN does all of these things are more. While our conversation was very interesting, I couldn't help but think about similar conversations I've had with representatives of other storage management and storage virtualization players. Each have brought forward similar concerns and, of course, pointed out that their products address the complex environment a data center has become.
Is Continuity Software best equipped to address the needs of your organization? The answer depends upon what the organization's requirements, the abilities of staff members and a number of other factors. I can suggest that learning more about Continuity Software and its products would be worth the time.