The Business Case for Storage Networks
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The previous chapter outlined in broad strokes the differences between
several of the storage networking protocols and products available on the market,
and demonstrated how to make the business case for deploying them after the
architecture has been selected.
This chapter focuses on the tactical aspects of deploying storage networks
including the selection of technologies to match business objectives, the process
of engaging and negotiating with vendors, and the creation of an internal support
model for ongoing support.
Understanding the financial impact of storage networks is only half of the
battle. A successful rollout of storage networking technologies is no different than
any other successful project in that it requires concrete objectives, detailed
planning, and effective communication before, during, and after the fact.
This chapter covers the following topics in detail:
Technology adoption
Storage technology primer
Choosing the right vendor
Changing the support model paradigm
Service-level management
Execution and functional roles
This chapter also provides an overview of current best practices from
evaluation and execution to implementation, production deployment, and
maintenance. However, before outlining the tactical processes necessary for a
successful storage networking project, it is helpful to take a brief look at
technology adoption in general.
Technology Adoption
The evolution of a technology and its subsequent adoption to solve a business
problem is typically the result of a number of forces acting in tandem. Generally
speaking, the process begins with a problem or product gap significant enough to
cause stress in a critical business environment. Software and hardware companies
analyze that gap and target it with a new product that creates value by relieving the
Chapter 4: How it Should Be Done
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stress caused by that particular issue. In some instances, the vendor might even
anticipate customer needs by providing some additional functionality. Further
releases of the product follow the same iterative process (identifying product
shortcomings and addressing them). In addition, vendors often implement
innovations based on feedback from initial customers.
At the same time that vendors develop a product or a suite of products to
address an issue, a network of industry media generates sufficient attention toward
the new technology so that individuals not closely affiliated with the business
stressors have a cursory grasp of the issue that the solution is designed to address.
As timelines progress, communication disperses through trade shows,
industry publications, and word of mouth. Both technical resource personnel and
management return from trade shows armed with hard data from early adopters.
Together the team gains a sense of how the new technology or products perform.
More customers adopt the new technology as the product’s lifecycle begins the
transition from early adopter to early majority, two of the five categories of
adopters outlined by Everett Rogers, Distinguished Professor in the Department
of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. In his book,
The Diffusion of Innovation, Rogers outlines the adoption of innovative ideas by
breaking down adopters into the following categories: innovators, early adopters,
early majority, late majority, and laggards.
1
The adoption of technology products and most product lifecycles closely
follow Rogers’ bell curve, as outlined in Figure 4-1.
Figure 4-1 Adoption of Innovation
2
Innovators
2.5%
Early
Adopters
13.5%
Early
Majority
34%
Late
Majority
34%
Laggards
16%
x – 2sd
x – sd
x
x + sd

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