Promotions and role changes can be gratifying and rewarding, but spare a thought for the newly minted enterprise storage administrators and storage operations managers of the world. You might have been in their shoes once, or know someone who’s gone through the trials and tribulations of what is about to befall them: challenges with legacy infrastructures, the ask to do more with less, and surprise demands. 

Turns out, there’s a better way—and it just might make their day.

First on the Agenda: Addressing Storage Operations and Service Delivery Issues

Let’s say our storage operations manager is Jane. Jane brought a boundless, youthful exuberance to her new role. She’d already developed some ideas to address the variety of issues afflicting storage operations and service delivery:

  • Mounting tech debt, much of it driven by an aging storage infrastructure on the brink of obsolescence 
  • Rising complaints from DBAs and application production support about the latency of that aging infrastructure 
  • Humiliatingly long delivery lead times against storage allocation requests 
  • Business criticality schedules that made it nearly impossible to find a window to allow for even the most basic offline maintenance

The list goes on. Sure, it would take a hefty amount of funding to correct all these issues. To start, a storage refresh is necessary to eliminate the risks with end-of-life/end-of-support arrays and improve the bandwidth and IOPS, to stay ahead of the service delivery request with some spare capacity, and to support the game of Tetris required to find room for new gear in that overcrowded, underpowered sauna of a data center.

Yes, she would need capital and some additional headcount. But she did her level best to keep it to a minimum, even though she would admit to being a bit shocked at how large that minimum capital funding requirement turned out to be. 

Furthermore, she did her homework:

  • Analyzed past growth trends
  • Asked the AppDev and DevOps leads for their upcoming plans (not much help there; they’ve all gone “agile”)
  • Solicited ideas from her legacy storage providers (the array purchase pricing arrived quickly; ideas to efficiently address the problems not so much)

This strengthened her resolve that what she was proposing in her budget request, while unpleasant, was necessary. After all, she wasn’t looking to completely modernize the storage fleet, just bring it up to a minimum standard of operability and service. Surely, her management and the financial controllers would see the merits of her plan? Well, not exactly.

The Response from Management: “Do More with Less”

The preliminary budget numbers came back. The additional headcount question was a non-starter. The response to the capital funding request was a more nuanced “no’” but a “no” all the same. (Just enough to keep the lights on, in her estimation.) There was even some commentary provided with the response that her budget requests seemed contrary to the strategic direction of the firm to adopt a “cloud-first” philosophy. “Oh, and by the way, this was only round one of the budgeting process, and no assumptions can be made on final initiative funding until the budget is finalized.” In other words, expect further cuts to the budget in later rounds.

Jane had accepted the enterprise storage role with energy and enthusiasm because of the challenge it presented. However, she hadn’t counted on that challenge including the condition that she do more with less. How was she supposed to find efficiencies and service improvements in an environment that, by design, was losing efficiency over time and was never really planned with a service mindset?

Next Up: Surprise Demands on Financial and Labor Resources

Chances are, not long after the budget decision, Jane runs into the data center manager in the hallway. The conversation likely goes something like this:

DC manager: “Congrats on the new role… We’re going to keep you very busy this coming year.”

Storage ops manager (Jane): “Thanks—wait, what do you mean ‘very busy’?”

DC manager: “The data center move project got approved—we have to get out of that old site before the roof caves in.”

Jane: “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

DC manager: “I’m telling you now, right?”

And the hits keep coming. That conversation with the DC manager is just an example of a pattern that will play out many times throughout the year in which surprise demands on financial and labor resources not only prevent Jane from making the improvements that are so urgently needed but also threaten to sink the operation into an even greater risk position. The idealism she brought to her new role is under assault from reality and coming from every direction.

So, if you know this person, send her a note to let her know you’re thinking of her and what she’s going through, or send her a care package to help her get through these trying times. 

Better still, let her know about Evergreen//One™.

A Better Reality: Enterprise-grade Storage as a Service 

Evergreen//One is a true, enterprise-grade storage-as-a-service solution that provides essential block, file, and object storage resources wherever they’re needed—in a private data center, in a co-location facility, or in the public cloud.

Because it’s a consumption model, Evergreen//One allows organizations to match storage usage costs with actual usage in a “pay-as-you-go” model. There’s no longer a need to justify significant capital outlays to pre-purchase massive capacity volumes to meet a forward growth forecast when—even if that forecast is accurate—it still results in a substantial tax on operations with all that pre-paid capacity sitting on the floor waiting (hoping?) to find a useful purpose in life someday. And conversely, no more running the risk of a capacity shortfall and the need to introduce rationing or hard constraints on usage, which only adds operational risk customers don’t want to have to manage.

As a true service subscription—placing an emphasis on the word “service”—much of the basic service infrastructure “care and feeding” is Pure’s responsibility in Evergreen//One. Pure becomes responsible for much of the capacity management, performance management, service infrastructure maintenance planning and execution, and more. And that leaves the customer’s own finite resources to focus on higher-value operations.

The benefits don’t end there. Pure provides genuine service level agreements—commercial commitments with service credit ramifications for violations—with Evergreen//One subscriptions. That results in an invaluable transfer of risk from the client to Pure in ensuring continuous availability, the ability to consume storage on demand, delivering consistent storage layer performance, energy efficiency, and more. And all SLA targets are measurable through the Pure1® management interface.

When Jane asks, “How is this even possible?” just tell her that Evergreen//One is enabled by industry-leading, field-proven FlashArray, FlashBlade®, and Pure Cloud Block Store technology. All of these are underpinned by Pure’s Evergreen architecture, allowing non-disruptive upgrades and expansions to provide elasticity and scalability. This capability is a minimum viable product requirement for a true, enterprise-grade storage-as-a-service solution.

So, do more to help that fledgling enterprise storage admin/storage ops manager than just giving her a sympathetic ear… Help her get her mojo back. Tell her about the best storage-as-a-service solution on the market—one that will deliver financial flexibility and operational agility, while mitigating IT risk, with guaranteed energy efficiency. Tell her about Evergreen//One and she’ll rise to meet the challenges of her new role. And she’ll thank you for it.