Effective serviceability requires the establishment of both configuration management and problem management. Starting with a set of user requirements that result in the capacity plan, followed by the installation, the critical information contained with the physical and logical configuration documentation drives the effective response to problems.
Problem management establishes a method to effectively deal with problem servicing and the proactive servicing of the configuration. Key among problem management activities is the definition of prioritization. Although this can be a volatile activity, its best kept as an internal data center activity where end-user data utility is a key goal. Problem identification is central to establishing credibility within the data center. Given SAN and NAS configurations, both can be analyzed from an outside-in problem identification perspective. Although SANs demonstrate a much higher level of complexity, they nevertheless lack the necessary tools to enhance the problem identification process. On the other hand, NAS configurations, given their operation as an existing network component, can take advantage of current network tools. NAS also has a level of maturity that offers internal diagnostic information, thus providing efficiencies in problem identification and resolution.
Without an effective practice for servicing the storage network, the complexities and potential confusion within configuration analysis and problem diagnostics will exacerbate system outages. Both configuration management and problem management are critical elements to the cycle of storage network management.