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Best Practice. Build Management Muscle with Storage Provisioning. Marc Farley President, Building Storage, Inc. Author , Building Storage Networks. Checklist. The Building Storage Definition of Provisioning.

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build management muscle with storage provisioning

Best Practice

Build Management Muscle with Storage Provisioning

Marc Farley

President, Building Storage, Inc.

Author, Building Storage Networks

the building storage definition of provisioning


The Building Storage Definition of Provisioning
  • The sequence of state changes in a storage network to achieve a different, optimal and desired operating state
binding versus provisioning
Binding Versus Provisioning
  • Some vendors use provisioning to describe the process of matching an internal block address space with a specific subsystem port.
  • How about if we call this a bind?




cross functional scope of provisioning

Key Features

Cross-Functional Scope of Provisioning
  • Provisioning should encompass all components:
    • Wiring
      • HBAs, drivers, switches/routers/bridges/gateways, cabling, zoning, addressing/routing, flow control, naming services
    • Storing
      • Devices, subsystems, LUNs, volume managers, virtualization, SCSI drivers, data movers, mirroring
    • Filing
      • File systems, databases, volume managers, backup, replication, HSM
cross product scope of provisioning

Key Features

Cross-Product Scope of Provisioning
  • Provisioning encompasses all point-products:
    • Storing Wiring Filing



Host Systems

hypothetical sequence of state changes add a volume to a server


Hypothetical Sequence of State Changes: Add a Volume to a Server
  • 1. Identify available switch port
  • 2. Create new zone in switch to isolate new storage volume
  • 3. Create new volume in disk subsystem
  • 4. Configure a disk subsystem port
  • 5. Bind the volume to the port
  • 6. Login bound-port to the fabric (isolated zone)
  • 7. Add server to port zone
  • 8. Allocate storage volume to server HBA driver
  • 9. Format volume with file system
  • 10. Copy data and/or install applications
  • Wiring
  • Storing
  • Wiring
  • Storing
  • Filing
adding a volume to a server


Adding a Volume to a Server










New Volume





provisioning @ work changing zones for multi use data
Provisioning @ Work: Changing Zones for Multi-use Data

Storage Subsystem

Application 2Server

Application 1 Systems

Multi-use data

provisioning for minimal interruption


Provisioning for Minimal Interruption
  • Status of products should be verified
  • Cross-functional relationships need to be analyzed
  • The shortest sequence is not always the best
  • Spare resources can provide substitution
    • Especially useful for network operations
this looks like a job for automation


This Looks Like a Job For…Automation!
  • Automation begets accuracy
  • Reliability and safety are job #1
    • Storage communications must be solid
    • Machinery doesn’t forget or overlook
  • Storage networks are sufficiently complicated
  • Duh! Apply automation and take out the human element
automated provisioning as a storage best practice part 1

Best Practice

Automated Provisioning as a Storage Best Practice ... Part 1
  • Installation
    • Automated initialization of the storage network
  • Change management
    • Safe automation of changes to a ‘live’ network
    • Identify service interruptions by analyzing state changes in advance
automated provisioning as a storage best practice part2

Best Practice

Automated Provisioning as a Storage Best Practice … Part2
  • Fault correction
    • Isolate the fault
    • Identify the new state
    • Determine sequence to a target state
      • Redundant/ equivalent state
      • Preferred/improved state
      • Degraded/prioritized state
provisioning nas


Provisioning & NAS
  • Application-orientation for file I/O
  • Multiple network mount points: C:\ D:\ E:\ F:\
  • File-level virtualization: similar to HSM systems but with file links instead of migration
  • Client link segmentation, trucking, prioritization
    • network traffic management
  • Cross-functions may be contained in a single system
provisioning sans


Provisioning & SANs
  • Volume-orientation for block I/O
  • LUNs: Devices, exported volumes
  • Storing virtualization: Volume managers, RAID controllers, virtualization
beyond san nas


Beyond SAN-NAS
  • Distributed file-system technology
    • Load balancing across file system nodes
    • File system node specialization
  • Matching file systems with volume characteristics
    • Block size definitions
    • Solid-state disk substitution
pathing zoning considerations


Pathing & Zoning Considerations
  • Pathing = Host software for HBA fail-over in a system
  • Zoning = I/O segregation


provisioning and pathing


Provisioning and Pathing
  • Automated provisioning should not effect standby paths and path resources
  • Pathing solutions manage fail-over within a system
    • Fast-path to resuming I/O operations
    • Pathing is a ‘micro-provisioning’ system
  • Provisioning reacts to pathing changes as a network state change
    • A shift in resources may trigger other secondary changes
provisioning and zoning

Best Practice

Provisioning and Zoning
  • Zoning changes are network state changes
    • Should be verified for impact on all relationships in the state
  • Zoning changes shouldn’t interfere with higher priority paths and resources
integrating systems management tools and disciplines with provisioning


Integrating Systems Management Tools and Disciplines With Provisioning
  • Scripts
  • Schedulers
  • Policy engines
  • Process-workflow


  • Job scripts automate point-product managers
  • Scripts may provide point-product state changes
  • Multiple scripts can be assembled as a provisioning sequence
    • Switch script #3 + Subsystem script #1 + Database script #5

Sw #3, SubS #1, DB #5



Sw #3

SubS #1

DB #5

provisioning on schedule


Provisioning on Schedule
  • Provisioning sequences can be scheduled
  • Regular time, day, week, month
  • Run-once for single execution
  • Trial or partial runs
policy engines


Policy engines
  • Measurable characteristics & compliance ranges
    • Measure, collect, compare
  • Relationship impact projections against policies
  • Policy engine triggers
    • Non-compliance with administrator notification
      • Manual decision to invoke provisioning
    • Non-compliance with automated actions
      • Scripting for limited scope scenarios (redundant fail-over)
examples of policy definitions


Examples of Policy Definitions
  • Disk capacity (percent free)
  • Latency (end-to-end maximums)
  • Link (standby)
  • Bandwidth utilization (between 15% and 25%)
  • Error rates (less than 1x10-13)
  • Disk (hot spare)
  • Applications (grouped data)
storage process workflow

Best Practice

Storage Process Workflow
  • Automated provisioning sequences can impact other systems and data access
  • Disruptive processes cannot go unchecked
  • IT process-disciplines may be required
    • Managers who need notification
    • Management approval & review
storage process automation software


Storage Process Automation Software
  • Storage management modules/scripts
  • Provisioning sequences
  • Notification, approval
  • Staff skills, certifications
  • Order processing
  • Maintenance schedules
recommendations for attendees

Best Practice

Recommendations for Attendees
  • Start thinking about storage network management in terms of provisioning and management processes
  • Get experience with
    • Point management tools
    • Creating scripts for them
    • Assembling them into provisioning sequences
  • Check out companies with automation technologies
    • Invio Software, EMC, Veritas, BMC

Marc Farley