Creating a Storage Management Policy, Part 2

The following tips complete the suggestions we began in Part 1 to help your company create and implement an effective storage management policy.

Use a Team Approach
Different groups within a company often see themselves at odds. In the case of user storage requirements, the network administrator would be in conflict with the offending user (who may be politically well connected in the company). "Just give me more space please—I'm important!" is the usual response from a user to the network administrator. An improper political approach will make users take on the view that big brother is watching them. People relate to inclusive words that have a positive sound like "we" and "our" and "team."

Part of your job is selling the concept and helping users to understand that the information on the corporate network belongs to the company, not to them personally. Convince users they are part of a team and that their contributions in helping you manage storage will benefit everyone.

Keep Your Users Involved
People like to feel that they are informed and that their opinions count. Let your users know that your company is going to develop and implement a Storage Management Policy and that you seek their advice and input. You need to work together with the user community to make sensible policies. Involve a representative from each unique group who is able to articulate the group's requirements.

Get the Authority to Do It
The highest levels of senior management will need to publicly endorse the storage management initiative and policy. This might be in the form of an email from a President or CEO stating the reason for the undertaking and what is expected of employees. Ask Human Resources to be directly involved and to help with the legal issues (e.g., objectionable materials on network).

Provide Forewarning
Just letting your users know that storage management is becoming a priority will automatically force some cleanup to take place. Once the policy has been developed, publish it, and give users a chance to clean up their space, archive what they want, and get rid of what they don’t need. Giving them a heads-up warning that this is coming will make the transition easier.

Treat Users Groups Uniquely
Find out when there are special storage requirements and who needs what and why. Different groups of users will have different needs. You need to know what they need and treat them accordingly—and differently. One group of users could have relatively gigantic storage needs (i.e., engineers' CAD files) while another group of users' needs may be minimal. Survey employees to assess their needs. Audit current usage trends and see what should be archived.

Sample User Quotas

  • Power user - 1000MB
  • Administrator - 750MB
  • Contractor - 250 MB
  • Executive - 2000MB
  • Network Administrator - 5000MB
  • General Users - 500MB

Use a Pilot Group
Start with a subset of the employee base when you implement your policy and storage management solution, preferably with a group that is sympathetic and understanding. The idea is to start small and work through the flaws in your implementation when the whole company is not watching you.

Transition Period: Soft to Hard Quotas
Give your user community a transition period and move forward in a stepwise process. You should use soft quotas at first—you start with gentle reminders and don't go as far as locking down users. If and when you move to hard quotas, there will be no surprises.

Your Opportunity to Look Good!
Consider this a career-enhancing opportunity. If you use the approach discussed in this paper to develop your corporate Storage Management Policy, you will increase the likelihood of a successful implementation. In the end, you want to look good, and how you conduct yourself will be the critical issue.

(Adapted, with permission, from an NTP Software Best Practices document)

NTP Software Professional Services
For further assistance in creating a corporate Storage Management Policy, please contact your NTP Software Representative at 800-266-2755. NTP Software also offers consulting services to assist in deployment, configuration, and training on your storage management software.

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