Replacing or upgrading your existing storage array can be a daunting task, since the performance and availability of your business applications hang on what system you decide to use.
Be sure to choose a system or system upgrade that accommodates both short term and long term strategies for growth. While there is no perfect choice as trade-offs exist in all storage offerings, there are several questions you can ask yourself to help guide you in the decision-making process.
1. Why do we really want to upgrade or modify this system?
Be sure to evaluate all emotional components of the decision, such as who will be affected and all associated risks. Dig into your root motivations to help understand potential long-term solutions.
2. What new applications are coming online in the next 12-24 months? How will these applications affect my storage consumption?
3. What remaining lease payments exist? How many are there? What is my buyout number?
4. If we replace this system, how much capacity will we need to purchase? Accommodate for 12 months of growth and projects. Carefully examine the requirements to address the root issues and ensure that you’ve planned for long-term capacity.
5. What will the migration process look like if we purchase a new system?
6. What other infrastructure projects can we tackle if we opt for an upgrade instead of a complete replacement?
7. If we opt to replace, how much of a learning curve will there be as my staff and I become proficient with the new system?
8. What are my current RPO and RTO requirements for DR? Could those change in the next 24 months?
9. With what storage system or systems is my team most familiar? Why?
10. How much additional capacity is required from this array over the next 12-24 months?
11. What will my DR requirements be over time? Are we even looking at DR?
12. What existing applications that are hosted on DAS or storage islands do I want to collapse into a centralized system? Does my existing system have enough of a workload buffer to handle the job?
13. What tools do I need on my storage array? Dedupe, Tiering, Auto-Caching, Snapshots, Replication, Thin Provisioning, etc? Why? Will this solve the root issue?
14. If replaced, what could I reuse this system for? DR, Remote Office, Backup to Disk, Archive?
15. What upgrades might allow my existing array to find a valuable new use—even if I replace it? (Dedicated Oracle System, VMWare Backup Target, TSM Storage Pool, DEV, TEST, QA Farm, etc.)
Some of these storage questions were derived from best practices; others we discovered by experience. Hopefully they will help you gain some insight as you consider replacing or upgrading your storage array. If you need assistance planning a storage project or replacing an existing storage array, give us a call.
Whatever your decision, we’re ready to help. Call 1-877.227.0828 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.