Storage Assessment

Managing storage has always been a major challenge within IT operations. Spiralling data growth coupled with poor visibility of provisioned storage often leads to low utilisation of storage devices and high capital expenditure. In addition, lengthy lead times for storage provisioning reduces the agility of IT to support new business applications.

Storage tiering capabilities and unified storage platforms from technology vendors, coupled with flexible procurement options in the form of “Capacity on Demand” now make “Storage as a Service” a viable option for many organisations. In addition the growth of cloud based storage offerings from many service providers enable corporate data to be housed on a range of storage platforms that can radically reduce ongoing storage spend.


4sl have developed a Storage Assessment service which measures the maturity of the storage service in terms of the technologies deployed and the associated operational processes. This gives organisations an independent view on the effectiveness of the current storage environment and how it could be improved to provide a more agile service to the business at a much lower price point.

4sl will review the entire problem domain from the initial storage strategy, through the technologies deployed to the operational processes and services, encompassing the following assessment areas:

  • Storage Estate Discovery & Analysis
  • Storage Strategy in terms of Service Levels, Data Classification, Backup Strategy and Chargeback.
  • Storage Infrastructure, technology capability and performance.
  • Storage Configuration in terms of defined standards and consistency of application.
  • Resilience in terms of failover features and single points of failure.
  • Service Delivery in terms of request handling, storage provisioning, incident management, capacity management and financial management.
  • Monitoring and Alerting and how effective incidents and problems are managed.
  • Information Lifecycle Management and Data Archiving.
  • Compliance in terms of managing ongoing risks, consistency of configuration, managing configuration drift and monitoring against defined KPIs.
  • Reporting and its effectiveness in tracking utilisation, capacity, reclamation, performance, compliance, incidents and request fulfilment.

Information will be gathered by 4sl through a series of workshops with key stakeholders, administrators and operators about all aspects of storage services, addressing infrastructure, configuration, data profile, operations and service delivery. If applicable, 4sl will use existing in-house array based tools and/or it’s own internal scripts to gather raw data on the storage environment in terms of provisioned volumes, utilisation and data profile.

4sl will use graphical techniques (as illustrated below) to illustrate current levels of maturity and areas of strength and weakness. This will be used to generate a series of strategic, technical and operational recommendations categorised in terms of short-term fix, medium-term improvement and strategic transformation.

The output from the assessment can lay the foundation for:

  • Increased visibility of complete storage estate including application profile, servers, SAN, NAS and associated connectivity.
  • Potential cost savings including asset rationalisation, consolidation, decommissioning and cost avoidance options.
  • Service Improvement Programme.
  • Feasibility study into new technologies such a Storage Tiering, Thin Provisioning and Data Archiving.
  • Formulation of a new storage operational model.
  • A tendering process for technology refresh.
  • The basis for an investigation into adopting cloud based storage services and implementing a combined om-premise and cloud based infrastructure that aligns correctly with the diverse requirements across the application and data estate.