The current economic free fall makes one thing clear: the days of solid gold enterprise IT are numbered. Successful IT architects and managers must be expert in wringing the maximum business value from IT architecture and product choices.

But how, exactly, do you do that? The solid-gold strategy is easy: all the kit is the best money can buy; vendor service techs and SE’s are on-site; everything is over-configured; redundancy everywhere; and the sales team is golfing with the CIO.

But in tough economic times – which look to last a while thanks to Congressional economic illiteracy – the focus moves to getting the most bang for the buck. The problem is measuring that and convincing gimlet-eyed CFOs.

How about a little Clarity?
That’s where Clarity AP (Assessment & Planning) comes in. It uses Bayesian probability calculus to quantify system availability and recovery times.

The net net: you can calculate the availability of a system of discrete elements that each have their own availability probabilities. For example you can compare the availability – and the inverse, downtime – of a RAID 5 array to a RAID 6 array. Or an infrastructure composed of Big Iron arrays to one of clustered commodity boxes.

Compare a Tier IV data center to a Tier I. Add remote backup into the mix. Even, good heavens, cloud storage.

They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play!
Of course, the problem isn’t the math, it’s getting the data to feed the model. Most such IT “tools” are designed by consultants to extract money, not data.

The general pitch is “great tool, now hire us for 3 weeks to gather the data on your infrastructure.” That $100,000 “study” is mostly guys counting boxes in racks – with a little analysis tacked on.

Clarity AP is different. It’s got a catalog of storage devices from EMC, HP, IBM and others that you can drag and drop into a configuration. Then there’s a long list of processes – LTO backup to remote replication – as well.

In a few minutes you can build a model of a storage infrastructure. Then start changing elements and see the impact – financial as well as operational.

With very little effort you can show senior managers in charts and graphs where you are today, where you’d like to go, and how much it will reduce downtime and data loss.

Here’s a 4 minute StorageMojo Video White Paper on Clarity AP:

If you go to YouTube you can watch it in what they call HD. Click on the “watch in HD” link at the lower right corner of the player.

Brought to you by. . .
TwinStrata is a Boston-based startup whose 2 co-founders, Nicos Vekiarides and John Bates, have several decades of storage and DR experience between them. They co-founded StorageApps, which was acquired by HP in 200l.

The StorageMojo take
Everybody exhorts IT pros to be “business partners” to the LOBs, but nobody ever explains how. Clarity AP is a powerful tool for turning arcane technical details into dollars and cents.

All the business guys want to know is what they will get and how much will it cost. The civilians will thank you for, finally, speaking their language.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Yes, TwinStrata hired me to make the video. But I didn’t agree to it until I saw that they had something cool. Try it out yourself and let me – and them – know what you think.