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Storage provisioning has always been one of the more complicated management tasks that administrators deal with on a regular basis.  Requests for new storage capacity from application owners are often varied requiring individual analysis and planning.  Depending on the visibility into the current storage utilization of your environment, it can be difficult to determine where is the most optimal place to deliver on the next capacity request, which often leads to over provisioning and lower storage utilization rates.  Infrastructure self-service promises easy deployment and accessibility of infrastructure resources for new business application needs.  However, can you achieve this goal within your infrastructure if you are still using manual storage provisioning processes? 


Hitachi's new Automation Director software application delivers new capabilities that can automate repeatable, manual storage provisioning operations saving both time and costs.  It addresses two key provisioning challenges of dealing with varied storage requests for business applications and ensuring the storage capacity fulfillment process is optimized and properly aligned with application based service requirements.


So how does this work?  For storage requests, Automation Director provides new service templates for storage capacity requests based on existing application provisioning best practices.  For example when allocating tiered storage resources for a new Oracle database, a standardized process could be established where the fastest Tier 1 storage would be allocated for the core Oracle database while slower, less expensive Tier 2 storage would be allocated for the database logs or temporary files.  By incorporating storage provisioning templates for Oracle, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, etc., Automation Director can help you to establish a predefined catalog of service  templates to streamline and standardize storage capacity requests for common business applications.


Of course each application deployment might have specific needs, so you could modify these templates using Automation Director's service builder feature to suit the particular needs of your environment.  For example, you could change the defined storage service level for a particular application component or include an additional function like send an email when the scheduled provisioning task is completed.  To extend use of these templates and further reduce risks, you can restrict entry for certain fields of a service template to enable their self-service use by a wider audience.


For storage capacity fulfillment, Automation Director provides infrastructure abstraction to quickly discover and categorize existing virtualized storage resources into service defined storage tiers, i.e. platinum, gold, silver, etc.  This helps to fully utilize tiered storage resources that can be properly aligned with application specific storage capacity and performance requirements.  When new application capacity requests are made, Automation Director automatically provides intelligent choices to ensure placement on storage volumes with the appropriate amount of space and service level available.


By utilizing these automated provisioning capabilities, you can eliminate potential errors from manual configuration and provisioning operations while improving administrative productivity and storage service reliability.  By enabling storage infrastructure self-service with automated provisioning, this helps to establish one of the key automated elements of Hitachi's vision for a software-defined infrastructure.