CA's Gupta talks storage

Addressing a vendor-heavy crowd at the Storage Networking conference in San Francisco this week, Computer Associates International's CTO Yogesh Gupta, made a plea for vendor cooperation in helping customers create simplified storage environments.

Speaking to a crowd of approximately 300 attendees, Gupta used his keynote address to explain the problems with today's enterprise storage environments and offered solutions to alleviate the pain associated with implementing and maintaining them.

"Today any enterprise storage environment is complex," Gupta said. "Both medium and large-sized enterprises have legacy systems, mainframes, SANs, NASes, end-user storage -- it is a real mess."

Gupta outlined the problems of complexity faced by enterprises, including low storage utilization, high cost of business continuity, undelivered storage QoS, missing storage security, and management processes that are human resource-intensive, expensive, and error prone.

Gupta went on to complain about how vendors are offering customers solutions to individual problems, rather than creating solutions that address larger complexities.

"Vendors think about technology first, rather than the business problem," he said. "New technology often adds to the complexity and disregards the old [existing] stuff."

To illustrate the complexity of SANs Gupta pointed to the work amongst vendors here at the show to get their technology up and running in the very interoperability lab that is meant to showcase the interoperability amongst competing products.

"It has been the year of the SAN for the last six years," quipped Gupta. "People were working hard to make it all work last night, and we're the vendors."

After outline the customer needs -- optimized storage utilization, risk mitigation, secure environment, and efficient management -- Gupta explained what was required to make it happen -- a storage utility model, where enterprise storage could be turned on and expanded as the needs within the enterprise grew.

Gupta listed a shared pool of storage, assured QoS, and unified management as the linchpins to a simpler SAN. Additionally he discussed how storage devices can't be specific to any operating system or proprietary systems, and must be standards-compliant.

After explaining how storage devices must behave like self-describing objects and how policies must adhere to business objects, Gupta closed his speech by outlining what was required by vendors to meet the customer needs: standards, understanding of business data value, and effective management tools that manage everything from one place, rather than tools to manage each device.

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