Forget the flair, just make it work

As data volumes rise and storage systems become networked as a matter of course, it seems almost inevitable that the management tactics needed to control those systems will also become more complex. Yet that doesn't mean that IT managers are happy with that state of affairs.

As data volumes rise and storage systems become networked as a matter of course, it seems almost inevitable that the management tactics needed to control those systems will also become more complex. Yet that doesn't mean that IT managers are happy with that state of affairs.

A recent customer survey by Brocade underscores the point. Asked to identify their priorities, an impressive 61 percent skipped adding technical enhancements in favour of a much more straightforward goal: reducing complexity in their existing infrastructure. (The next most popular option, picked by 44 percent of the 572 respondents, was to reduce connection time.)

While storage networking standardisation is fairly well advanced, there's obviously still work to be done in this area, a fact Brocade CTO Max Riggsbee acknowledges. Nonetheless, confidence in overall approaches to buildings SANs is such that some enterprises are now pre-emptively constructing them.

"We have a number of customers who build SANs in advance of what they're going to connect to them," he noted during a recent visit to Australia for Brocade's user roadshow.

As the survey shows, that may be an exceptional approach, as IT managers battle to achieve the basis of any SAN vision: true data storage independence. "Anyone can move anything," Riggsbee said. "The trick is to move it and not have anyone notice that it's moved."

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