Here, we come full circle. Back to the place we started in this part of the bookthat is, a sound and well-thought-out capacity plan for storage networking. The benefits are evident in the increased availability, reliability, and success of the storage networking infrastructure. In addition to setting the basis for a manageable set of service levels, the capacity plan supports the external systems and applications departments in the data center. More important is the credibility it establishes for that support.
The rationale that storage networking is a new technology and does not lend itself to traditional or summary planning for capacity is incorrect. As we have demonstrated, the process of estimating resources and configurations can be done. However, it is an iterative process and one that becomes more accurate as mistakes and related information arise. As new information and tools become available, the accuracy and time required to plan for effective storage networking configurations will increase. Key among these will be the increased information collection methods and the ability to provide effective statistical predictions without the collection of months and months of detailed activity information.
This must be balanced against the fast-moving storage networking industry where new technologies become available almost every calendar quarter. The difficulties behind planning without the knowledge of technology advancements will move both the vendor community and the data center to reach some level of product planning communications that is beneficial to both parties. As discussed in Chapter 20, new innovations continue to affect the storage networking solution. Among these is the coalescing of SAN and NAS architectures and the advancement of traditional computer bus technologies into switched fabrics .
Storage networking has become the cornerstone of new applications within the data center and continues to deliver the scalable performance necessary for the future. However, these new storage functions must be applied in an organized and planned fashion. Capacity planning for storage networking infrastructures may form the foundation for the next level of storage management, culminating in a true paradigm shift within the data center.