The Global Tivoli User Community is hosting an all-day, Storage Focused Tivoli User Group event in New York City October 11th that will cover:
New Approaches and Best Practices for Data Lifecycle Management
Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Location:IBM Office, 590 Madison Avenue, NYC - Briefing Center auditorium 3rd Floor
At this event you will have the opportunity to learn from experts about and discuss the following:
- Current developments and future directions for Tivoli Storage solutions from Steve Wojtowecz, IBM VP of Tivoli Development
- Best Practices from TSM customer deployments by event sponsors and IBM Business Partners Mainline Information Systems and Starfire Technologies
- IBM Unified Recovery Management and Capacity Pricing Discussion
- Storage Hypervisor Solution / Storage in the Cloud
· Continental breakfast and lunch will be served
We hope you will join us to learn about these key storage topics, as well as hear about real-live customer success stories from our IBM Business Partners.
Space is limited and you must be a TUC member to attend. Register today to secure your spot at this special event!
IBM Systems Storage Software Blog
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To borrow a phrase from a fellow blogger… Interest from customers on cloud storage is very, very hot, and that’s been keeping us very, very busy. The interest underscores the fact that public storage cloud providers have sent a “cost shockwave” through the industry and customers are taking notice.
While CIO’s may still be too concerned about security and service levels to put much real corporate information in the public cloud, they have taken notice that these service providers are offering storage capacity at prices that are often lower than what they are paying for their own private storage. Sure, a service provider theoretically has more economy of scale and so could demand a better price from their hardware vendors, but they also have some profit margin to build into their “service”. There has to be more to it. The customers I talk to are wondering what these service providers are doing to operate at those costs – and if any of their techniques can be applied in a private storage environment.
The situation begs the question “what is it that differentiates these public storage clouds from the traditional private storage environments that most clients operate?” From our experience with customers, there are four significant differences.
In this post, I’m going to try to explain these four concepts in sufficient detail that somebody responsible for a private storage environment could walk away with some practical recommendations that could save their company a pile of money. Most of this isn’t really original (the concepts have been around for a while), but so few enterprises operate this way that the person who introduces their company to these ideas often looks like a genius (and who doesn’t like that!!). It’s a long topic, so I’ve broken it into 3 posts.
Storage resources are virtualized. Do you remember back when applications ran on machines that really were physical servers (all that “physical” stuff that kept everything in one place and slowed all your processes down)? Most folks are rapidly putting those days behind them. Server hypervisors and the virtual machines they manage have improved efficiency (no more wasted compute resources), freed up mobility, and ushered in a whole new “cloud” language.
Well, the same ideas apply to storage. As administrators catch on to these ideas, it won’t be long before we’ll be asking the question “Do you remember back when virtual machines used disks that really were physical arrays (all that “physical” stuff that kept everything in one place and slowed all your processes down)?”
But storage hypervisors are more, much more than just virtual slices and data mobility. Remember, we’re trying to think like a service provider who is driving cost out of the equation. Sure, we’re getting high utilization from allocating virtual slices, but are we being as smart as we could be about allocating those slices? A good storage hypervisor helps you be smart.
Are you getting the picture of why so many enterprises are beginning to agree with Gartner that a storage hypervisor can be a great first step in transitioning traditional IT into a private cloud storage environment? Application owners come to you for storage capacity because you’re responsible for the storage at your company. In the old days, if they requested 500GB of capacity, you allocated 500GB off of some tier-1 physical array – and there it sat. But then you discovered storage hypervisors! Now you tell that application owner he has 500GB of capacity… What he really has is a 500GB virtual volume that is thin provisioned, compressed, and backed by lower-tier disks. When he has a few data blocks that get really hot, the storage hypervisor dynamically moves just those blocks to higher tier storage like SSD’s. His virtual disk can be accessed anywhere across vendors, tiers and even datacenters. And in the background you have changed the vendor storage he is actually sitting on twice because you found a better supplier. But he doesn’t know any of this because he only sees the 500GB virtual volume you gave him. It’s “in the cloud”.
Come Listen to Tivoli Storage: Simplify Data Protection and Reduce Costs with Unified Recovery Management
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Simplify Data Protection and Reduce Costs With Unified Recovery Management
On September 22, we will be hosting an educational webcast that will address the challenges of providing data protection and recovery for rapidly growing amounts of diverse enterprise data. During this call, you will hear about our unified recovery management solution that can help reduce complexity, risk and costs. Included in this solution is a new simple, value-based option for procuring and managing software licenses.
Speaker: Rich Vining, Product Marketing Manager
Date: September 22, 2011
Time: 11:00 AM Eastern US
Please register for this event using this link.
After registering you will receive a confirmation note with call-in instructions.
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I recently read an excellent post by Ron Riffe, a fellow IBMer discussing practical recommendations for introducing cloud techniques into a private storage environment – the end goal being to save your company a substantial amount of money while becoming more responsive to the needs of the business. The first of the four steps discussed in the post was to introduce a storage hypervisor – virtualization of your storage infrastructure. It’s a good idea, especially if you have already virtualized some or all of your production server environment with something like VMware.
But there’s more to it than just the efficiency and mobility you get from virtualizing. The customers we talk to are finding new value that rises out of the synergy when both the server and storage environments are virtualized. One example is in the area of data protection. In this post, I’m going to explain the 1+1=3 effect for data protection that comes from combining VMware with a good storage hypervisor.
Let’s start with a quick walk down memory lane. Do you remember what your data protection environment looked like before virtualization? There was a server with an operating system and an application… and that thing had a backup agent on it to capture backup copies and send them someplace (most likely over an IP network) for safe keeping. It worked, but it took a lot of time to deploy and maintain all the agents, a lot of bandwidth to transmit the data, and a lot of disk or tapes to store it all. The topic of data protection has modernized quite a bit since then.
Today, you’re using a server hypervisor (VMware) to efficiently pack several virtual machines onto one physical server – and to make it so you can deploy, move and decommission those VMs pretty much at will. If you are still using the old techniques for data protection (deploying an agent on each individual VM, and then transferring all the backup data for those VMs through the one IP network pipe) on that physical server, you’re probably running into significant performance and application availability problems, and also missing out on some significant savings (if you listen carefully, you can hear your backup environment screaming ‘modernize me, MODERNIZE ME!”).
Fast forward to today. Modernization has come from three different sources – the server hypervisor, the storage hypervisor and the unified recovery manager. The end result is a data protection environment that captures all the data it needs in one coordinated snapshot action, efficiently stores those snapshots, and provides for recovery of just about any slice of data you could want. It’s quite the beautiful thing.
Data capture: VMware has provided a nice set of APIs that allow disk arrays and backup vendors to intelligently drive snapshots of a VMware datastore (for the techies, these are the vStorage API’s for Data Protection, or VADP). The problem is that integration from a disk array to these API’s is a tier-1 kind of service that is found on very few disk arrays today. That’s where a good storage hypervisor comes in. A storage hypervisor will include its own integration between VMware VADP and hardware-assist snapshot and it will plug the control GUI directly into the VMware vCenter management console. That means, regardless of what type of disk array capacity you have chosen to use for your VMware data, the storage hypervisor will be able to do a hardware-assisted snapshot of the VMware datastore (all your VMs at once – sweet!).
Efficient storage: Here’s a scenario we see…
The snapshots can add up, so efficiency is important. For the “online” snapshots, a good storage hypervisor stores only incremental changes, compresses the result and stores it as a thin provisioned volume on lower-tier disk capacity (the new 3TB SAS drives make a nice choice). Notice in this scenario, the administrator is also promoting one of the snapshots each day (say, the midnight snapshot) to an enterprise recovery manager. If you are using IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery, then it will insert deduplication in the list of efficiency techniques being applied to the snapshot (incremental snapshots that are deduplicated, compressed, and stored on lower-tier disk… that’s about as efficient as it gets).
Flexible recovery: Whether the snapshot is online or nearline, the only reason you have it is so that you can recover when something (anything) goes wrong. A good hypervisor / unified recovery manager combination will give VMware administrators the ability to peer inside the snapshot and recover individual files, virtual volumes, or entire VMs. Using the scenario above, your recovery point would be no more than 6 hours old for the last 4 days, and your recovery time would be measured in minutes.
IBM offers one of the worlds best known unified recovery managers and the worlds most widely deployed storage hypervisor. With over 7000 storage hypervisor deployments, we’ve had a lot of opportunity to build some depth. Deep integration with VMware for modernizing your data protection environment is one example. If you are running VMware and haven’t yet modernized data protection, IBM can help. You can learn more at the following links.
Storage hypervisor platform: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
Storage hypervisor management, storage service catalog, and self-service provisioning: Tivoli Storage Productivity Center Standard Edition (TPC SE)
Data protection integration: Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery
Join the conversation! The virtual dialogue on this topic will continue in a live group chat on September 23, 2011 from 12 noon to 1pm Eastern Time. Join some of the Top 20 storage bloggers, key industry analysts and IBM Storage subject matter experts to discuss storage hypervisors and get questions answered about improving your private storage environment.
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This is part 2 of a 3 part post on how somebody responsible for a private storage environment could save their company a pile of money by implementing cloud storage techniques. Part I introduced the concept of a storage hypervisor as a first step in transitioning traditional IT into a private cloud storage environment. In this 2nd post, I’m going to explain some of the key storage cloud management controls that can be used to drive down cost.
Storage services are standardized. When it comes to shopping, I avoid (at almost all costs) actually going to the store. You can keep all the time and frustration of traffic, fighting for a parking place, wondering aimlessly through aisles of choices, and standing in checkout lines. I’ll take the simplicity and speed of a good online catalog any day.
The idea of shopping from a catalog isn’t new and the cost efficiency it offers to the supplier isn’t new either. Public storage cloud service providers seized on the catalog idea quickly as both a means of providing a clear description of available services to their clients, and of controlling costs. Here’s the idea… I can go to a public cloud storage provider like Amazon S3, Nirvanix, Google Storage for Developers, or any of a host of other providers, give them my credit card, and get some storage capacity. Now, the “kind” of storage capacity I get depends on the service level I choose from their catalog. These folks each offer a small few different service level options. Amazon S3, for example, offers Standard Storage or Reduced Redundancy Storage (can you guess which one costs less?).
Most of today’s private IT environments represent the complete other end of the pendulum swing – total customization. Every application owner, every business unit, every department wants to have complete flexibility to customize their storage services in any way they want. This expectation is one of the reasons so many private IT environments have such a heavy mix of tier-1 storage. Since there is no structure around the kind of requests that are coming in, the only way to be prepared is to have a disk array that could service anything that shows up. Not very efficient… There has to be a middle ground.
Now, for each catalog entry, there are a variety of service levels that can be defined that cover things like capacity efficiency, I/O performance, data access resilience, and disaster protection. By this point you’re probably rolling your eyes because you know your application owners… and they’re going to want every byte of their data to have the highest available service in each of these areas (and you wonder why you have so much tier-1 storage). A little bit further into this post we’re going to talk about the wonder of usage-based chargeback, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s assume you’re having a coherent conversation with your application owners and are able to define realistic needs for your database data. Maybe something like this…
From there, you’re back to the wizard. Actually defining the attributes of the catalog entry is a little mundane (lot’s of propeller head knobs and dials to turn), but once you’re done – you’re done! – and life get’s really efficient. So, let’s get the mundane stuff out of the way. First are the capacity efficiency and I/O performance attributes (be sure and notice that for “Database” we are telling the catalog we want virtual volumes – from a storage hypervisor. There will be a test in a paragraph or so :-)
Then the data access resilience attributes.
And finally the disaster protection attributes.
I told you it was a little mundane. But now come the exciting results that really drive cost out of the environment and save a huge amount of administrative time.
First is capital expense. You’re running mostly tier-1 disk arrays today. You have just finished defining the fifteen-ish catalog entries your company is going to use. Some, like “Database”, call for storage services that are often associated with tier-1 disk arrays. Most others don’t. With a little intelligent forecasting, you should be able to determine exactly how much tier-1 storage capability you really need, and how much lower-tier storage you can start using We’ve seen clients shift their mix from 70% tier-1 to 70% lower-tier storage (pretty significant capital expense shift). And if the thought of moving all that existing data from tier-1 to a lower tier makes you shudder, refer back to Part I of this post and look again at the data mobility provided by a good storage hypervisor (Test: did you notice that for “Database” we told the catalog we wanted virtual volumes – from a storage hypervisor…).
The second big savings is in operational expense (keep reading).
Here comes the request from an application owner for 500GB of new “Database” capacity (one of the options available in the storage service catalog) to be attached to some server. After appropriate approvals, the administrator can simply enter the three important pieces of information (type of storage = “Database”, quantity = 500GB, name of the system authorized to access the storage) and click the “Go” button (in TPC SE it’s actually a “Run now” button) to automatically provision and attach the storage. No more complicated checklists or time consuming manual procedures.
Storage is paid per use. It’s the little appreciated – but incredibly powerful tool in the quest to drive cost out of the environment. When end users are aware of the impact of their consumption and service level choices, they tend to make more efficient choices. Conversely (we all know what happens here), when there’s no correlation between service level choices and end user visibility to cost… well… you have a lot of tier-1 storage on the floor.
A chargeback tool like IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager (TUAM) completes the story we have been building…
Stay tuned for Part III of this post where I’ll explore some technical thoughts you’ll want to consider when picking a storage hypervisor.
The conversation is building! Earlier this week, fellow IBM blogger Tony Pearson joined the conversation with a perspective on Storage Hypervisor integration with VMware. And IBM blogger Rich Vining added a perspective on VMware Data Protection with a Storage Hypervisor. To cap it off, we just completed our first live group chat with over 30 IT managers, industry analysts, independent bloggers, and IBM storage experts.
Join the conversation! The virtual dialogue on this topic will continue in another live group chat on September 30, 2011 from 12 noon to 1pm Eastern Time.
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While storage on cloud is a promising thought, the ensuing complexity associated with monitoring, managing and reporting the storage sprawl acts as a significant deterrent. Organizations need to equip their environment with robust storage resource management application that can withstand business demands, offer comprehensive visibility across the data path, and scale as their storage network expands. Fellow IBMer Ron Riffe in his recent blog on Storage Hypervisor wrote about the importance of management controls and highlighted some of the key capabilities of IBM’s storage resource management offering - Tivoli Storage Productivity Center.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center supports both IBM and other-vendor storage devices that are compliant with SMI-S standards, and offers integrated storage infrastructure management capabilities that simplifies, automates, and optimizes the management of storage devices, storage networks, and capacity utilization of file systems and databases.
I am going to highlight the 4 key capabilities administrators would require should they pursue to put their storage on cloud…
Self service provisioningTivoli Storage Productivity Center enables automated discovery and wizard-based provisioning of storage systems, enabling administrators to effectively provision new storage through best-practice methods, often including disaster recovery planning while provisioning.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center offers the SAN Planner that assists the administrator in end-to-end planning involving fabrics, hosts, storage controllers, storage pools, volumes, paths, ports, zones, zone sets, storage resource groups (SRGs), and replication The SAN Planner provides recommendations for creating and provisioning VDisks with the recommended I/O group and preferred node for each VDisk.
Combining Tivoli Storage Productivity Center with Tivoli Provisioning Manager, storage administrators have a powerful way to simplify the provisioning of storage. Automated work flows can be created that can utilize custom scripts and customer processes, including storage administrator and/or systems administrator sign off. The Tivoli Storage Productivity Center-Tivoli Provisioning Manager native integration enables storage administrators to allow application owners to procure and provision the storage space they need, the type of storage they need, the throughput that is expected and the price specifications to suit their business priorities.
To read more about SAN Planner, click here.
Storage tiering reports (to be announced on Oct 14, 2011)Storage tiering reports was developed by IBM Systems Lab Services under the larger theme known as STAR – Storage Tiering Activity Reporter, which provides decision support for data placement, and enables administrators to optimize resource utilization in terms of capacity and throughput.
Storage tiering reports help administrators to leverage storage virtualization and insights from Tivoli Storage Productivity Center to
• Identify data that could be moved to an alternate tier of storage or less active Managed Disk Group
• Identify the hottest and coolest Managed Disk Groups and Virtual Disks based on performance to assist in up tiering, down tiering and re-tiering decisions
• Provides capability to make “proactive” volume placement decisions
• Understand the performance stress on the hardware in comparison to its capability
A large European Telecommunications giant benefited from a 45% decline in storage acquisition cost in the first deployment translating into 55% discounted cash flow saving for a 4 year TCO evaluation.
Ensuring storage service levelsContinuous performance monitoring and reporting is key to business continuity and maintaining service levels in a cloud environment. Tivoli Storage Productivity Center provides end-to-end visibility to administrators from a single management console, including detailed performance metrics, data path and system connectivity, impact analysis and historical trending.
Administrators can ensure storage devices, storage networks and attached devices are performing in an optimized state, by setting different levels of thresholds for different storage entities based on the criticality of the asset. Alerts are generated when these thresholds are exceeded, duly notifying administers of potential impact and downtime. Tivoli Storage Productivity Center also offers policy-based event action that is based on performance values and business policies.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center provides storage utilization insights from raw performance data against proven models to predict the utilization of components within the subsystem. This feature provides a unique “heat map” style of display that makes it easier for administrators to narrow in on storage “hot spots”, and thus more easily identify risks and discover both under- and over-utilized areas of the storage infrastructure.
To learn more about Storage Optimizer, click here.
ChargebackIn a cloud environment, administrators are challenges to create and manage shared storage services that can be charged back to users based on consumption. When usage varies between departments or businesses, storage administrators require chargeback capabilities in order to simplify departmental allocation and manage capacity utilization.
Through integration with Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Data enables storage administrators to understand storage usage and perform cost allocation or chargeback users of storage. These solutions help support storage administrators in their efforts to track, allocate and bill different departments and lines of business based on multiple usage metrics. As a result, the organization can better align the storage infrastructure with overall business objectives and be better prepared to meet future requirements.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Data supports multi-tenancy requirements, allowing cloud storage administrators to manage and track storage usage for multiple clients simultaneously. Advanced multi-customer support capabilities enable organizations to charge in different currencies and to charge different rates for the same service, as well as providing cloud consumers with price breakdowns for resources used and resources reserved for future use. The solution supports large data centers as well as public and hybrid cloud environments.
Click here to download the white paper ‘Optimizing capacity and management of file systems and databases’.
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This is part 3 of a 3 part post on how somebody responsible for a private storage environment could save their company a pile of money by implementing cloud storage techniques. Part I introduced the concept of a storage hypervisor as a first step in transitioning traditional IT into a private cloud storage environment. Part II explained how a storage service catalog, self-service provisioning, and usage-based chargeback can be used to drive down cost. In this 3rd post, I’m going to share some thoughts that should help you be smarter about choosing a storage hypervisor.
The first step is to remind ourselves what we’re trying to accomplish with a storage hypervisor. From our experience deploying over 7000 storage hypervisors, the starting point for most folks is improved efficiency and data mobility. Remember, the basic idea behind hypervisors (server or storage) is that they allow you to gather up physical resources into a pool, and then consume virtual slices of that pool until it’s all gone (this is how you get the really high utilization). The kicker comes from being able to non-disruptively move those slices around. In the case of a storage hypervisor, people are looking for the freedom to move a slice (or virtual volume) from tier to tier, from vendor to vendor, and more recently, from site to site all while the applications are online and accessing the data.
To pull off this level of mobility – in servers or storage – it’s important that the hypervisor not be dependant on the underlying physical hardware for anything except capacity (compute capacity in the case of a server hypervisor like VMware, storage capacity in the case of a storage hypervisor). Think about it… Wouldn’t it be odd to have a pair of VMware ESX hosts in a cluster, one running on IBM hardware and one on HP hardware, and be told that you couldn’t vMotion a virtual machine between the two because some feature of your virtual machine would just stop working? If you tie a virtual machine to a specific piece of hardware in order to take advantage of the function in that hardware, it sort of defeats the whole point of mobility. The same thing applies to storage hypervisors. Virtual volumes that are dependant on a particular physical disk array for some function, say mirroring or snapshotting for example, aren’t really mobile from tier to tier or vendor to vendor any more.
But it’s more than just a philosophical issue, there’s real money at stake (you may want to read what comes next a couple of times). In Part II of this post I discussed using a storage service catalog as a means of defining specific service level needs for your different categories of data. These service levels covered the gamut from capacity efficiency and I/O performance (for you techies that’s RAID levels, thin provisioning, use of solid state disks, etc), to data access resilience and disaster protection (multi-pathing, snapshotting, mirroring…). The reason so many datacenters have an over abundance of tier-1 disk arrays on the floor is because, historically, if you wanted to take advantage of things like thin provisioning, application-integrated snapshot, robust mirroring for disaster recovery, high performance for database workloads, access to solid-state disk, etc… you had to buy tier-1 ‘array capacity’ to get access to these tier-1 ‘storage services’ (did you catch the subtle difference?) Now, I don’t have anything against tier-1 disk arrays (my company sells a really good one). In fact, they have a great reputation for availability (a lot of the bulk in these units are sophisticated, redundant electronics that keep the thing available all the time). But with a good storage hypervisor, tier-1 ‘storage services’ are no longer tied to tier-1 ‘array capacity’ because the service levels are provided by the hypervisor. Capacity…is capacity…and you can choose any kind you want. Many clients we work with are discovering the huge cost savings that can be realized by continuing to deliver tier-1 service (from the hypervisor), only doing it on lower-tier disk arrays. As I noted in Part II of this post, we’ve seen clients shift their mix of ‘array capacity’ from 70% tier-1 to 70% lower-tier arrays while continuing to deliver tier-1 ‘storage services’ to their data. This YouTube video describes an example of that at Sprint.
Smart idea #1: Be careful to understand what, if any, dependency a storage hypervisor has on the capability of an underlying disk array to deliver function to your virtual volumes (like thin provisioning, compression, snapshotting, mirroring, etc.)
Next thought. There are three rather interrelated solution categories in the area of dealing with outages and protecting data.
Smart idea #2: Remembering smart idea #1, be sure that your storage hypervisor has its own ability to provide for disaster avoidance (inter-site mobility), disaster recovery (mirroring that’s integrated with recovery automation tools) and data protection (snapshotting that’s integrated with applications and backup tools).
One final thought. A storage hypervisor isn’t an island unto itself. Like a server hypervisor, it exists in a broader datacenter. Administrators need to be able to see it in the context of the disk arrays it manages, the servers (or virtual machines) that use its virtual volumes, the applications that need backups or clones, the disaster recovery automation that’s coordinating recovery of servers, storage, networks… You get the picture. When the challenges of day-to-day operations happen (and they do happen most every day)…
Smart idea #3: Make a list of all the day-to-day operational things you do today with physical storage, and the things you hope to automate in the future, and be careful to understand if your storage hypervisor is sufficiently instrumented and integrated – or if it’s creating a new island to be separately managed.
I had an opportunity recently to talk on an open microphone podcast with ESG senior analyst Mark Peters about this whole area of storage hypervisors. It was an enlightening conversation full of very actionable thoughts. I recommend listening to the podcast.
And now a word from our sponsors :-) IBM offers the worlds most widely deployed storage hypervisor. With over 7000 deployments, hundreds in the newer inter-site disaster avoidance configuration, we’ve had a lot of opportunity to build some depth. As you evaluate using cloud storage techniques in your private enterprise, you’ll find things I talked about in this blog series available in IBM products today. They can help you save your company a pile of money (and make you look like a genius while you’re doing it).
Storage hypervisor platform: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
Storage hypervisor management, storage service catalog, and self-service provisioning: Tivoli Storage Productivity Center Standard Edition (TPC SE)
Usage-based chargeback: Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager (TUAM)
Data protection integration: Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager Unified Recovery
Thanks for staying with me through this blog series – hope you find it valuable!
The conversation continues!
Martha Westphal 0600012U29 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  self-service pay-per-use storage cloud-storage virtual-storage storage-hypervisor service-catalog 932 Visits
And don't forget to listen to the 'open mic' conversation about Storage Hypervisors with IBM's Ron Riffe, the author of this blog series, and ESG analyst, Mark Peters: