Storage networking, in changing the reality of storage deployment and access, shifts the traditional views of business continuity planning. Data becomes centralized, consolidated, and maintained within its own infrastructure (for instance, SAN and NAS configurations), and as a result, it has also become more distributed within remote areas of the company. Fundamentally, the change in technology requires different tools or at least a modification of traditional tools such as backup/recovery software, data replication, and archival tools and products. Regardless of these changes, many of the fundamental storage planning activities should continue to be applied to storage networking configurations.
The following is an example of the types of information that should be gathered in evaluating the business continuity planning requirements.
Data ownership Data ownership continues to be more of a political question than a pragmatic one. However, finding the owner of the application data can provide the keys to the value, integrity, and necessity of it.
Application usage Finding what programs access the data can provide the means to uncovering data that may be overlooked in continuity implementations . For example, there is always that one file that only gets accessed once a month by the inventory control application if its online. Consequently, not including this file in the regular backups , disaster recovery copies, or archival process results in an unhappy recovery experience.
Data utilization This exercise provides a similar value to the application analysis. Not only does this uncover data that has not been accessed in months, quarters , or even years , it also provides a side benefit of increased storage utilization through the identification of unused data that can be archived to tape.
End users Relating the data to an end- user department, division, or customer will also put another important piece of the continuity puzzle into perspective. Although this may seem clerical and administratively oriented, the proper placement of data within the complex structure of a SAN or the remote environment of a NAS are important to physical determinations of continuity configurations.
Current infrastructure Understanding the current storage infrastructure, and applying the preceding bullets, provides a road map into what areas are most at risk. In terms of SAN and NAS, it will provide valuable insight into the placement of data from a NAS to a SAN and vice versa.