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INFO TECHNOLOGY

The importance of the unimportant

In my previous articles I mentioned a lot of new technologies aggressively entering the IT market. People who use computers only on a general office software level - making use, for example, of Internet to send and receive e-mails, do Internet-banking and online business transactions; or just occasionally connecting through a small LAN to a low- or medium-performance server - might find these technical specifications and other details about HW too complicated or boring.
From their point of view, such information is unimportant. However, it is necessary to bear in mind that even if the simplest of e-banking transactions is to be executed, there is a need for specific data to be correct, updated and accessible at the right moment. People often get irritated if the transaction takes ages to be completed, or, worst of all, if it is not executed at all for some reason or other. It is only then that users are forced to start thinking about "unimportant details" and actually consider changing service providers.


Stanislav Dzurík

In my previous articles I mentioned a lot of new technologies aggressively entering the IT market. People who use computers only on a general office software level - making use, for example, of Internet to send and receive e-mails, do Internet-banking and online business transactions; or just occasionally connecting through a small LAN to a low- or medium-performance server - might find these technical specifications and other details about HW too complicated or boring.

From their point of view, such information is unimportant. However, it is necessary to bear in mind that even if the simplest of e-banking transactions is to be executed, there is a need for specific data to be correct, updated and accessible at the right moment. People often get irritated if the transaction takes ages to be completed, or, worst of all, if it is not executed at all for some reason or other. It is only then that users are forced to start thinking about "unimportant details" and actually consider changing service providers.

This is why people need to constantly deal with issues like accessibility, protection against damage or loss and the general security of data. These and many other problems trouble the world in which the so-called mission-critical, Business Intelligence, ERP or e-business applications are used.

Companies that run on these applications need to implement new technologies based on the principles of SAN technology in order to secure a smooth functioning of all their activities. Through this they can secure a better position on the market, win greater customer trust, cut down operation costs, speed up access to key information, provide customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or use IT more effectively.

Also, we must not forget the need to protect investments that arise due to the modular nature of computer architecture used in SAN development. Without interrupting the running of the system, separate SAN components can be modified, exchanged, updated or repaired.

For companies that are still developing and shaping their information system, it is convenient to have a high-capacity, high-performance, multi-platform storage device. During real-life activity of the production system, they also need to develop and test new application modules. According to the requirements of the specific applications or of the users themselves, it is possible to change the size of the assigned space on the storage device.

Additional copy-services provide for quick, multiple copying of data. The section containing this copy of data can then be assigned in a simple way to another server. Thus, developers can easily tune-up existing applications, create and test new ones or make a smooth transition from an old to a new application practically without disturbing the running of the system.

An important characteristic of SAN technology implementation is the opportunity it affords to manage all facilities (whether servers or storage devices) from one place - an operator console - by using just one tool. As of today a good example of such a tool would be the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM).

TSM enables planning and managing and significantly increases the actual speed of data-backup performance and data recovery; it also enables management of mirroring of the hard drive storage devices or creation of test copy data making use of a new method for data backup - server-free-backup.

This system also increases the data inaccessibility period for users and the whole backup process runs via an operator console, the server becomes unburdened and highly efficient. Clearly, these characteristics contribute to a great extent to enhancement of data accessibility periods for applications, and through this benefiting end-users as well.

Equally important for any company is to have all budgets and recurrent balances on time - simply said, all necessary information for top management.

Stanislav Dzurík is an IT consultant at Columbex International. Comments and questions can be sent to his email address at: dzurik@columbex.sk

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