RFP criteria for how to build an agile data infrastructure

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

How do you plan to maintain efficiency while satisfying the need for greater IT agility at a greater scale than ever before?

Every new IT infrastructure purchase you make today directly impacts your business going forward. The capabilities of an agile data infrastructure enable you to fundamentally change the economics of IT and adapt to unpredictable data growth and business challenges.

BEWARE: 20 surefire IT mistakes

An agile IT foundation combines data management with the architectural capabilities of clustering. This combination makes data storage, much like a network, an enduring infrastructure that can grow and change to deliver business efficiency, leverage existing infrastructure, and support scale with greater productivity, all without sacrificing the stability and predictability of services.

For your infrastructure to become truly agile, you need to address each of the following nine criteria to realize an IT infrastructure that is truly intelligent, immortal, and infinite.

The key is asking the right questions in your requests for proposals (RFPs) and requiring vendors to provide measurable proof that they can deliver on these new agile IT criteria.

Agile data infrastructure buying criteria

* Seamless scaling. Deliver on-demand scaling of capacity and I/O performance with operational efficiency.

* Storage efficiency. Reduce the cost of infrastructure with space-saving replication, point-in-time snapshots, deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, media optimization, and performance optimization of low-cost SATA disk.

* Virtual storage tiering. Anticipate and manage to performance needs by automating transparent data movement based on application affinity and workload.

* Unified architecture. Flexibly meet the changing requirements of different workloads through multiprotocol support and rich data management.

* Integrated data protection. Provide integrated, unified disaster recovery, backup, and archiving across all applications that require them, regardless of protocol or disk type.

* Nondisruptive operations. Deliver nonstop data availability by supporting workload migration and load balancing, as well as the upgrade, repair, and replacement of nodes without service interruption.

* Secure multi-tenancy. Serve multiple customers across a shared IT infrastructure with secure logical separation of data and administration.

* Embedded data security. Protect data assets through role-based administration, encryption and antivirus software.

* Service automation and analytics. Manage to business service levels for performance, availability, capacity, and more by orchestrating the application with the storage resources.

Holding your vendors to these requirements will help you change the economics of IT by ensuring your infrastructure is agile enough to accommodate unpredictable data growth and business challenges.

NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that accelerate business breakthroughs and deliver outstanding cost efficiency. Discover NetApp's passion for helping companies around the world go further, faster at www.netapp.com.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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