Reporting-as-a-Service (RaaS) is gaining momentum by providing IT organizations with the analytics and visibility they need to better understand their heterogeneous storage, unstructured data, backup, SAN fabric and virtualized environment. At Daymark, we’ve seen a big uptick in interest in RaaS, but like any relatively new managed services offering, there are questions. Here are some of the ones we get asked the most.
Q. Which organizations are making the greatest progress with RaaS?
A. Organizations that have varied technologies and diverse investments find value in the data analytics RaaS provides. When they recognize that knowledge of their environment increases manageability, they maximize that value.
Q. Should I start with a Proof of Concept (POC)?
In the case of RaaS, a POC is recommended and easy to do. It just takes one polling of your site to give you an accurate picture of what the service can do. A POC is then rolled into an initial assessment that will provide you with a first round of data analytics to help you better manage your environment.
Q. Which workloads should be my “low hanging fruit?”
A. The best place to start is one that could bring your business to a halt. We frequently recommend that clients start with the Capacity Manager and File Analytics for unstructured data. This will give you an idea of how your storage assets are being utilized and how they are growing.
Q. What are the key barriers to adoption?
A. You have to understand what RaaS is and what it is isn’t. It is data analytics tied to automated reporting. It is NOT a monitoring tool that provides real time system performance alerts and notifications. As a reporting tool, it helps you recognize trends, forecast growth, and understand what is changing in your environment. Expecting RaaS to perform monitoring functions leads to utter disappointment. Make sure you understand this key principle.
Q. How should a clear channel of communication and escalation process with the service provider be established?
A. Depending on the level of involvement from the third-party, it is recommended that each customer has the ability to directly contact the team that is monitoring their reports. Making sure a manager is directly involved in any issue that arises from the reporting is key to making sure problems are escalated and resolved in a timely manner.
Q. Am I facing a major investment in infrastructure, software or other elements?
A. RaaS is a cloud-based solution. As long as the service has access to the customer’s environment and all its assets, very little needs to be changed or added to the environment. There is an onsite collector that must be installed. The number of datacenters where RaaS is being deployed may impact the cost if multiple time zones are involved.
Q. How do I assess and trust security controls?
A. You must make sure that the service uses the proper SSL security over their web portal and that the team managing the service follows established proper best practices. Making sure the team has proper security compliance can be one way to do this. A better way to feel confident about the your service provider’s security controls is to ask to see a SOC report.
Q. How can I measure ROI?
A. Measuring the ROI of reporting can be tricky. It is one of those things where the more effort you put in, the greater the return will be. The information is not useful until you use it to make decisions to manage your environment. Data analytics will enable you to successfully forecast your growth and spending, allowing you to apply your budget where and when it is needed. You’ll also be able to foresee impending danger with aspects of your environment helping you to avoid costly downtime or off-cycle refreshes.