Implementation of SAN (Storage Area Network) and Backup and Recovery Software

Executive Summary

This paper covers the implementation of 1) SAN and 2) backup and recovery software produced by NetApp as agreed upon by the customer, ABC, and the vendor responsible for implementation, XYZ. This group, composed evaluated the project statement of work from a project management perspective.
Their evaluation of the project includes an understanding of the software and hardware to be implemented, an assessment of the problems potentially involved in the stated project plan, solutions for the problems found, and an summary of what they learned about project management as a result of this process. In addition, this paper contains a transcript of the interview with XYZ’s project manager, who provided the group with the original project statement of work.

The group found that the hardware and software being implemented for ABC was standard – NetApp’s status in the industry makes it software applications common – but that there were several potential problems that may be encountered. The three main problems were reliance on a single third-party for products (NetApp), overlapping timelines, and communication problems. While there is no clear resolution to the reliance on a single vendor, the overlapping timelines were resolved by a clear standard of user acceptance testing and the communication issues were resolved by a determination on the part of the XYZ to document all decisions reached between the ABC and themselves.

Each member of the project team took away a different lesson on project management as a result of this project. Ryan focused on the scope and management of the project itself, Sean found the traits needed to be a successful project manager, and Dana saw the leadership needed to successfully manage a project.
Table of Contents

Introduction
Project Technology
Project Phases
Phase I – Base Storage Implementation within a SAN Environment
Phase II – SnapMirror Installation
Phase III - SnapManager for Microsoft SharePoint and SnapManager for Microsoft SQL
Phase IV - SnapManager for SAP (“SMSAP”)
Phase IV - SnapManager for Oracle
Phase V – Operations Manager
Phase VI – Storage Engineer’s Tasks
Phase Completion Timeline
Interview
Problems and Solutions
Lessons
Conclusion
Appendix – Pert Chart of Our Project
Appendix – Original Statement of Work

Introduction
For our project, we chose to take a real world project and attack it with what we had learned in the classroom this semester as well as the knowledge and experience we have gained through the MIS program and in the real world. As this is a real, ongoing project, company names have been altered to protect privacy. However, the remaining information we were provided regarding the project is factual.
As the basis for our project, we took a statement of work from company XYZ regarding the implementation of a Storage Area Network (SAN) environment for customer ABC’s existing network. This would include hardware configuration, interfacing with existing network elements, implementing XYZ’s SnapManager application for major applications in the network environment, including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL server, Microsoft SharePoint, SAP, and Oracle database management.
Our goal was to examine the statement of work and determine if there were problems with implementing it and if so, what they were, how we would solve them, if possible. We believe that the problems and solutions we found during our analysis are real problems that XYZ would encounter during the project and that the solutions we provide are viable. By doing this, we consider several aspects of project management planning and execution.
In this paper, we detail the technology involved in the statement of work, the phases that the project will go through, the problems we found and the solutions we envision to resolve those problems. To help us gain insight into the project, its management, and its execution, we interviewed ******, the project manager who provided us with the statement of work and the actual project manager for this project. His insights are included in this paper as well.

Project Technology
The statement of work for this project envisions six main phases for execution. These phases are based on the implementation of the SAN and XYZ's SnapManager application suite. Before examining the phases of this project, it is appropriate to consider the technology involved; specifically, it is worth examining why a third party may be contracted to manage this project for customer ABC.
SAN as a term focuses on the hardware aspect - a storage area network, at its core, is simply a remote place to store data on the network that acts like it is attached to a given system. A properly implemented SAN interfaces with every major system on a network; its purpose is to store the large quantity of information even a relatively small company can generate on the network in a secure, redundant, yet easily and quickly accessible network location. The hardware available for a SAN can vary from tape drives to massive hard drives; the key variables in determining the appropriate hardware are typically size and speed. SAN users care about how much data they can store and how quickly that data can be retrieved.
For ABC, their SAN will consist of a data center connected via fiber to ABC’s network. The ABC systems that will be connected to the SAN are two AIX servers, one Microsoft Exchange Cluster, two SQL clusters, four VMware ESX servers, and two ESX Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) servers. This indicates that ABC’s focus will be on data storage and retrieval; the statement of work specifies that a fiber channel – a bundling of fiber connections will be used as part of the SAN fabric.
Another factor in determining in the hardware selection or a SAN lies in the software used to manage it. In this case, that decision is made for us – throughout this project and for every major application on customer ABC’s network, we will be using XYZ’s SnapManager software. This software suite applies to every major application in customer ABC’s environment. In addition, we will be using XYZ’s SnapMirror application to replicate data.
SnapMirror is an application developed by XYZ for data replication. It is designed to provide redundancy and security for network data. According to XYZ, their application provides five major benefits:
Standardized multipurpose replication solution: SnapMirror can protect a business with simple, efficient replication for disaster recovery and extend the value of replicated data to accelerate the business.
Reduced bandwidth utilization: Native network compression reduces bandwidth utilization by 70%, accelerating data transfers to lower RPO.
Reduced management overhead: Easily manage replication across different storage array tiers and protocols with the same tool.
Storage efficiency extended: SnapMirror thin replication extends primary storage efficiencies of virtualized environments up to 90% to the network and secondary storage.
Proven, tested, and integrated with leading industry partners: XYZ is recognized as the second largest storage replication vendor, and works with major partner applications to simplify and automate data management.
These benefits explain why SnapMirror was chosen by XYZ and the client, ABC, for data replication.
After the setup and installation of SnapMirror, XYZ’s SnapManager for Microsoft SharePoint (SMMOSP) will be installed. SMMOSP is designed to work with a SnapMirror installation for data backup and recovery. XYZ lists the following additional benefits of using this program:
Improve manageability: Manage your SharePoint® Server farms more efficiently with our automated discovery of SharePoint Server data layout capabilities and easy-to-use data backup and recovery processes.
Reduce costs: You can reduce storage costs with our space-efficient backup and data reduplication capabilities.
Increase availability: Minimize downtime and add storage on the fly while SharePoint Server data remains available and online.
Speed recovery: Reduce recovery times for SharePoint data from hours or days to just minutes.
Protect SharePoint Server data: Automatically replicate SharePoint Server data—locally or remotely—to protect it in the event of disaster.
It is worth mentioning that SMMOSP is designed to work with an existing installation of SharePoint. XYZ’s documentation for this application specifies that it works with SharePoint Server 2007. This may require ABC to upgrade its SharePoint server installation before SnapMirror can be implemented. However, the benefits that SMMOSP brings to the table make this a worthwhile proposition.
SharePoint Server’s use of SQL leads to the implementation of XYZ’s SnapManager for Microsoft SQL Server (SMSQL). SMSQL provides for backup and recovery, along with database cloning for testing. XYZ’s documentation says the following key benefits are:
Reduce costs: Reduce storage costs significantly with our space-efficient backup capabilities.
Increase productivity: Streamline data management and automate routine tasks so administrators can spend more time on value-added tasks.
Protect more data: Increase your backup frequency to protect more data automatically without impacting system performance.
Speed recovery: Restore a failed database of any size to full production in minutes.
Accelerate application development and testing: Create complete database clones in seconds without the need for additional storage space.
SMSQL’s provision of backup functionality without impacting availability will allow ABC’s database to keep their system uptime high, and the quick recovery promised by SMSQL will allow them to minimize their system downtimes as well.
ABC’s use of SAP as their enterprise resource planning solution means that XYZ’s SnapManager for SAP will also be installed and configured for the company. Like the previous XYZ applications, SnapManager for SAP will provide data backup and recovery services. It has been tested and certified to work with SAP. XYZ’s documentation says it brings the following benefits:
Comprehensive policy-driven data protection: Manage local and secondary backups as well as disaster recovery, all from a single interface.
Accelerated application development and testing: Create SAP system copies in minutes on either primary or secondary storage for development, testing, QA, reporting, and more.
Increased productivity: Full integration with SAP BR*Tools and Oracle® Databases lets you completely automate SAP data management for efficient operation.
Improved application availability at reduced costs: Achieve maximum performance and reduce costs with rapid, space-efficient backup; highly efficient clone‑based SAP system copies; and disaster recovery.
The ability to fully replicate SAP for development and test purposes combined with the increased automation functionality make SnapManager a beneficial choice for ABC. However, like SMMOSP, the reliance on the newest versions of the program – Oracle 9i or 10i and SAP BR*Tools 6.4 or greater – may mean an upgrade is required before implementation.
The use of Oracle with SAP also means that XYZ’s SnapManager for Oracle will also be installed and configured for ABC. SnapManager for Oracle, like SnapManager for SAP, allows not only for data backup and recovery, but also for cloning databases for testing and development. XYZ also cites the following benefits:
Maximum data availability: Space-efficient backups and full restores in minutes significantly reduce recovery time objective (RTO).
Comprehensive data protection: Manage local, secondary backups, and disaster recovery, all from a single interface.
Accelerate development and testing: Create production database clones in minutes for development, testing, QA, reporting, and more.
Increase productivity: Full integration with Oracle® Database 9i, 10g, and 11g leases Oracle data management.
Reduce costs: Achieve high performance and reduce costs with space-efficient backup, cloning, and disaster recovery.
The ability to perform restores in minutes when necessary is critical for businesses facing a catastrophic data loss and XYZ’s SnapManager for Oracle’s ability to do this is likely a key selling point.
The decision to use a single vendor, XYZ, to provide all of their software solutions comes with several benefits and flaws. The benefits of this choice are clear: a single vendor’s suite of applications allows XYZ the ability to ensure that the applications will work together to maximize reliability between applications, maximize the cost-savings that XYZ says its applications provide, and give ABC a single third-party vendor to work with if and when a problem occurs. XYZ’s strong reputation and reliability were likely also factors in deciding to use them as a solution. However, this reliance has some potential drawbacks, which will be outlined later in this paper.
Project Phases
To implement the SAN environment and the XYZ applications for ABC, the statement of work outlines six phases, each with an outline of work to be performed in each stage. Below are the phases provided, along with what we believe to be the key milestones of each phase.
Phase I – Base Storage Implementation within a SAN Environment
Install and power up Equipment in End User Datacenter.
Install, configure, and upgrade (if necessary) Data ONTAP on FAS Controllers.
Install Ethernet and Fiber Channel Connection to End User SAN Fabric.
XYZ will complete the Discovery, Configuration, and Design Workbook, and review with the End User
Assist End User to complete verification testing: hardware testing, cluster failover testing, and demonstration of data availability on CIFS and NFS data using Snapshot feature
Complete Solution Summary Document and Visio drawings
Provide a Transfer of Information (“TOI”) - storage controller basic administration (not to exceed two (2) hours
Provide a Transfer of Information for fabric switches basic administration (not to exceed one (1) hour)
Complete SAN fabric design
Validate SAN switch firmware and make recommendations for possible upgrades
Set up IP and gateway address of switches and validate switch connectivity
Configure zones after connecting servers and storage system to switch
Implement host utility kits and SnapDrive™ software on two 2 AIX servers with 6LPARs per system, one (1) Exchange cluster, two (2) SQL clusters, four (4) VMware ESX servers, and two (2) ESX VDI servers).
Implement Multi-Path Input/Output (“MPIO”) or ONTAP DSM software and create LUNs and perform LUN provisioning for Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle, SAP Microsoft Exchange Microsoft SQL for non SMMOSS and VMWare. Check basic functionality of FCP setup on host server
Complete additional verification testing: test SnapDrive MPIO functionality, and test switch failure
Each one of these tasks completes a key portion of the implementation of a physical SAN. Beyond installation, there are also design completion, documentation, and testing milestones. The additional milestones of turning over documentation to the customer and training their personnel on the new systems are milestones reflecting the completion of this phase of the project.
Phase II – SnapMirror Installation
Identify SnapMirror relationships (VSM vs. QSM) Maximum of five (5) relationships
Identify SnapMirror update schedules
Enable SnapMirror functionality
Configure SnapMirror destination volumes.
Configure SnapMirror relationships and schedules
Initialize the SnapMirror relationships for baseline transfer and perform updates
Test the async SnapMirror relationship for failover and failback
Delivery a Transfer of Information * (TOI) including explanation of customer configuration (schedule, authentication, options available for SnapMirror) and basic SnapMirror administration (not to exceed two hours)
Like the first phase, the key milestones for this project include implementation, testing, and a transfer of information to the customer. The additional milestones for identification of relationships and update schedules are milestones because they represent key tasks that must be completed before implementation of SnapMirror can take place.
Phase III - SnapManager for Microsoft SharePoint and SnapManager for Microsoft SQL
Assist Customer with completing Discovery Questionnaire
Create Design Document which outlines storage design and XYZ installed host software configuration
Provide a storage layout design, implementation, and configuration according to the XYZ design: Aggregates, RAID Group, Volume, and LUN sizing for SQL databases, transaction logs, SnapInfo, cluster quorum disk and mount point root(s) Configure a single local or remote SQL server for backup verification
Validate Windows Server pre-requisites, for example: service accounts with required permissions, network and SAN settings, appropriate Microsoft hotfixes have been applied, and driver versions and settings
Install XYZ Host Utilities, SnapDrive®, and SnapManager® for SQL ("SMSQL")
Create LUNs using SnapDrive software according to the XYZ design document, run the SnapManager for SQL configuration wizard, and configure and schedule SnapManager backups of the SQL databases
Assist Customer with performing backup and restore tests to the local XYZ storage system to verify proper installation of SnapDrive and SnapManager for SQL.
Conduct MSCS failover testing of all SnapDrive and SnapManager for SQL components
Test all XYZ components of the solution to validate proper functionality.
Review the End User’s SharePoint architecture
Define the SnapManager for SharePoint deployment configuration
Create a SnapManager for SharePoint Configuration Guide for the Customer and End User
Perform the SnapManager for SharePoint agent installation on the Microsoft SQL Server host
Perform XYZ SnapManager for SharePoint implementation and configuration
Perform backup and restore tests to verify proper installation of XYZ SnapManager for SharePoint
Create a backup schedule according to Customer’s and End User’s requirements
Deliver a Transfer of Information* on SnapManager for SharePoint not to exceed four (4) hours
Again, the key milestones for this phase of the project are clear - implementation, testing, and documentation. In addition, key milestones include the Discovery Questionnaire completion and validation of system requirements. We chose these a key milestones because we believe that these are stop-work points – should these milestones not be met, work on the project would be forced to stop until they were completed. For us, the discovery questionnaire is a key milestone. Without it, XYZ could not ensure that it was meeting the needs of its customer.
Phase IV - SnapManager for SAP (“SMSAP”)
Perform discovery of existing SAP production and supporting environments to understand End User’s environment - (SAP landscape which includes production, development, quality assurance, training and through final staging.)
Document discovery findings and validate with Customer and End User for completeness and accuracy
Perform analysis on validated data of End User environment and develop Solution Design and Implementation Plan per defined End User requirements. This objective of the Solution Design and Implementation Plan is to close gaps between the current environment capabilities and business requirements identified by End User.
Perform implementation planning for SMSAP deployment – major tasks include plan SMSAP repositories - size and availability, host server requirements per XYZ compatibility matrix, database layout, storage layout and network requirements.
Document and validate Solution Design and Implementation Plan with Customer and End User
Implement XYZ Storage per mutually agreed Solution Design and Implementation Plan
Create and configure End User’s installed Oracle database for SMSAP profile repository database instance per Solution Design and Implementation Plan
Implement and configure SMSAP on End User -supplied server(s) (physical or virtual machine(s))
Implement, register the license and configure SMSAP per mutually agreed Solution Design and Implementation Plan.

Create backup schedules and settings per Solution Design and Implementation Plan
Create a test backup and perform restore to validate solution functionality
Again, the key milestones for this phase of the project are clear - implementation, testing, and documentation. This phase includes discovery of the existing SAP implementation. This is another key milestone for its stop-work aspect. Once again, without the discovery of the existing installation, the rest of this phase cannot be completed. In addition, this milestone should address and allow for the resolution of the system requirements aspect of the SMSAP that was of potential concern when evaluating the software program earlier.
Phase IV - SnapManager for Oracle
Perform discovery of existing Oracle production and supporting environments to understand Customer environment - (such as the Oracle Infrastructure from production, development, quality assurance, training through final staging.)
Review the pre-requisites and dependencies for SnapDrive, Storage layout, Host OS patch levels and Volume Manager versions
Document discovery findings and validate with Customer for completeness and accuracy
Create a Solution Design and Implementation Plan
Perform implementation planning for SnapManager for Oracle deployment – major tasks include plan SMO repositories - size and availability, host server requirements per XYZ compatibility matrix, database layout, Storage layout and network requirements.
Design and document SMO backup schedule with Customer team for each Oracle instance to meet their backup requirements
Document and validate Solution Design and Implementation Plan with Customer.
Create Storage Design and Implementation Plan for the Oracle specific LUNs and / or volumes
Review Storage Design and Implementation Plan with Customer and obtain written approval of plan
Create and configure Customer installed Oracle database for SMO profile repository database instance per Solution Design
Install SnapDrive for UNIX or Windows (depending on environment), SMO on no more than two non-production hosts and/or two databases.
Install SMO Graphical User Interface (“GUI”) on Windows 2003/XP host (if desired)
Provide repository requirements to Customer team for creation of SMO Databases
Create SMO Repositories via CLI
Implement and configure SMO on up to two Customer-supplied server(s) (physical or virtual machines)
Install, license and configure SMO per mutually agreed Solution Design.
Create backup schedules and settings per Solution Design
Verify database backups using CLI
Demonstrate database backup, recovery and cloning using SMO using a test instance
Create backup of target database using SMO v. 3.0
Demonstrate delete backups
Demonstrate free backups
Demonstrate restore and recovery of target databases in primary location
Demonstrate restore and recovery of target database from alternate location
Create database clone specification and clone via SMO v.3.0
Like the previous stages, a number of the milestones we’ve identified are focused on the discovery phase of the project. SnapManager’s implementation requires specific system configurations and part of XYZ’s job is determining that ABC’s systems meet those specifications and, if necessary, bringing the systems up to standard. Again, this phase consists of installations, documentation, and testing. One additional note is that, unlike the SQL implementation, the Oracle implementation includes the creation and removal of duplicate databases. This feature was a noted part of XYZ’s documentation and its use here means that this was likely part of the decision to use XYZ’s products for ABC.
Phase V – Operations Manager
Review Current installation and determine necessary changes.
Gather customer requirements
Creation of the Operations Manager implementation design
Implementation and configuration of the product and associated features
Unlike the previous software implementation phases, this phase consists primarily of discovery, implementation, and documentation. This phase contains little testing, despite the high degree of customization involved. This may be an oversight, as this phase involves reporting aspects specifically designed to meet ABC’s unique criteria.
Phase VI – Storage Engineer’s Tasks
Determine capacity and performance needs
Assure high availability, operational resiliency, and maximum storage utilization in the End User’s data center
Provision storage media
Audit End User’s storage availability
Install XYZ hardware and software which is purchased under a separate agreement
Update End User’s firmware, as required
Review End User’s existing procedures, processes, and infrastructure
Assist End User with their change and release management process
Provide Transfers of Information to data center staff, as required
Provide recommendation to End User to update existing SOPs for the new XYZ environment
This final phase is focused on the installation and configuration of hardware and software purchased by ABC. As this phase takes place after the installation of the SAN and the XYZ software, this must be for any final installation of miscellaneous small programs not mentioned elsewhere in the statement of work. This is the phase where any final configuration of the XYZ software will take place.
Phase Completion Timeline
The phase completion dates according to Company XYZ are the following:

Phase 1: Base Storage Implementation within a SAN environment-
Start 5/4/2009 - End 10/8/2009 - Completed
Phase 2: Snap Mirror Implementation-
Start 5/4/2009 – End 10/8/2009 – Completed
Phase 3: SnapManager for Microsoft SharePoint-
Start 5/20/2009 - End 10/27/2009 – Completed
SnapManager for Microsoft SQL-
Start 5/20/2009 - End 10/27/2009 – Completed
Phase 4: SnapManager for SAP (SMSAP)-
Start 6/10/2009 - End 11/20/2009 - In Progress (customer acceptance testing)
SnapManager for Oracle-
Start 6/10/2009 - End 11/20/2009 - In Progress (customer acceptance testing)
Phase 5: Operations Manager-
Start 6/9/2009 - End 12/3/2009 - In Progress
Phase 6: Storage Engineer's Tasks-
Start 10/8/2009 - End 01/29/2010 - In Progress

As you can see from the time estimates above, they have allocated nearly eight months from start to finish to complete this project. This project, according to the timeline above, shows that the project will be a significant amount of time invested to ensure that the customer (Company ABC) is satisfied with the newly implemented system.

Interview
As part of our project, we interviewed ******, XYZ’s project manager for the ABC SAN installation and SnapManager installations. While his answers were brief, they do provide insight into the execution of this project. Because of the brevity of his answers, the entire interview is included below. Our questions are in italics.

What info systems are you using to complete your job duties and obligations?
MS Exchange, MS Project, MS Sharepoint, MS Word

How do you measure progress for tasks in each phase?
Using MS Project

Are you using information systems to accomplish any of the phases?
MS Project, MS Sharepoint

Are all tasks measureable in your phases?
Yes.

What kinds of problems did you run into?
a. Communication?
Yes, some communication issues, misinterpretation was the primary cause.
b. Lines of authority?
NO
c. How did you handle the problems?
Clearly document problems and develop action plans to resolve
i. What methods did you use?
Clearly document and assign owners; Escalate to management to get appropriate resources assigned to resolve problems when they have stalled. Communicate often and document.
ii. Any creative methods used only by you?
NO

What kinds of techniques do you use to get people to respond to orders, and stay motivated?
Provide realistic timelines and dates, and get the right resource assigned early in the project.

Explain your definition of company culture
a. Did company culture create problems in the phases?
NO
b. How so?

What major changes have you seen in IT over the past 20yrs that have personally affected your work environment?
Personal Computers, Servers (non mainframe) Network attached Storage, Storage Area Networks.

How sensitive is XYZ to technology change?
They are receptive to change as long as it is properly deployed, (ie. Design, Implementation Plans, Adequate testing)

How does project management fit into cloud computing?
It will be key, as large project require Enterprise PM’s to manage projects.
Problems and Solutions
There are several potential problems with enacting this project plan. The first is the decision to utilize XYZ’s applications, using only a single third party vendor. This leaves ABC vulnerable to XYZ’s business practices and changes. For example, if XYZ were to go out of business, ABC would be left with minimal or no support for their entire data backup and recovery setup. As unlikely as this is, something more likely would be XYZ discontinuing one or more of the products used by ABC. This would leave ABC with a minimally supported application. Another, even more likely, possibility is upgrades to XYZ’s applications being incompatible with ABC’s existing configuration. This has the potential to leave ABC with a malfunctioning application or force them to perform costly upgrades to maintain their SnapManager functionality.
There is no clear solution to this problem. These possibilities should have been considered as part of the vendor evaluation process. XYZ is a strong business, well-positioned in its market; it is unlikely to simply close up shop and no longer function as a business. However, all things are possible and it should be noted that this is a vulnerability to using a single vendor for a series of applications. More likely is that XYZ’s future upgrades will have a negative or costly impact on ABC’s application or their data backup and recovery configuration. The most simple solution is to delay upgrading in this situation as long as possible - indeed, even be prepared to roll back a non-functional upgrade – to ensure that the cost is well-timed and the flaws with implementation have been resolved by the vendor.
Another potential problem with this project plan is its specification of XYZ using ABC’s project management method for completing the project. This has the potential to complicate the project by forcing XYZ to use unfamiliar tools and methodology, which could lead to delays or even an outright failure of the project. The solution to this problem is clear in the interview with ******. He specifies that the project uses Microsoft Project, a common tool, for managing the projects, its stages and flow.
One of the other potential issues with the project depends on how they estimated completion times for each phase. One of the major contributing factors to failures in software development is an overly optimistic schedule, thus allocating not enough time to each phase respectively. Depending on how Company XYZ determined how long each phase could take, they might run into time constraints, which could put them in a predicament if they are contractually bound to finish by a certain date. If they ran into issues due to scheduling problems, it might create a domino effect that could cripple that later phases of projects. This could be solved by making sure they have modest and accurate estimates for their completion times and not taking them at “face value”. However, so far the project is on-time with each respective phase according to the timeline (Pg. 17). These potential time management problems are costly and can create unexpected fluctuations in how much work force is being applied to a specific phase.
.
In our interview with the project manager he stated that they did run into problems with the project, mainly with communication. He then stated that it was mainly misinterpretation when there was a problem with communication. What Company XYZ did to solve this problem, they documented the issues and came up with plans/solutions to the issues that arose. Problems with communication can be difficult due to the nature of this project because of the collaboration of Company XYZ and ABC. Miscommunication between the two could be costly to the project, however, Company XYZ acted correctly to solve the issues that arose. Communication is a heavily emphasized aspect of project management and the pitfalls that the project brings rings into sharp focus how critical this skill set is.
Another plausible concern could be from poor human resource scheduling. Having not enough people or having one person doing too many tasks could also cause a problem. If there is/was not enough human resources assigned to work on a phase of this project, it would cause problems with getting phases done on the promised/estimated completion date. Or excessive multi-tasking could also cause a problem because of the lack of focus at the task at hand. This, in a way goes hand-in-hand with the previous issue in that, poor human resources scheduling could cause time delays and create the domino effect previously mentioned in the paragraph above. This can be easily prevented by proper estimates of time and resources required for the project and making sure that you have access to those resources.
One potential problem is located in Phase II: SnapMirror Implementation. Company XYZ states that it will, “…Test SnapMirror to standard software specifications and completion of this testing is not a requirement of product’s acceptance which is addressed under the software purchase agreement”. The problem lies within the potential failure to complete testing during implementation. Company ABC is vulnerable to XYZ’s change. ABC can solve this problem by allocating human resources early enough so they can be immediately deployed to solve the failure of testing SnapMirror software specifications.
Another potential problem is each of XYZ’s phases overlap in completion dates. This creates a problem in directing where the work force’s efforts are applied. A solution to the problem is a Lean 6 Sigma approach. This directs the work force to the phase that is lacking and focuses the hard work to get the phase back on track or completed.
Lessons
The lessons learned from this project from a project management perspective are varied and, to a large degree, individual lessons. To understand what each member of this team has taken from this project, each member will detail their own lessons.
Lessons – xxxxxx
I learned many things in the process of shadowing this project. I learned that the Project Manager’s role is more about having an adaptive personality than being a typical manager. From following the textbook to an actual project with a project manager, I have learned that there is a need for flexibility and adaptability. The philosophy of the project manager lies within the fact that nothing is perfect and that a plan for pliability is necessary to accomplish organizational goals.
Another piece of knowledge I have acquired comes from the communication aspect of project management. Communication comes in many forms and it is important to each member of the team to have a clear plan of action to accomplish a goal. I have noticed that verbal communication is just as important as visual communication. The PERT/CPM approach helps team members visually understand the time allocated to each phase and how important it is to reach a deadline on time. Clear verbal communication helps alleviate miscommunication between all team members. According to an interview done with the project manager of XYZ, the basis of most problems was due to miscommunication between team members. The initial start of a project plan is to clearly define the scope of a project. A scope is problematic unless it can clearly communicate the plan to all members involved in project.
Lessons - xxxxxx
For me, the aspect of project management that has impressed me the most this semester was the leadership aspects. Time and again, it struck me that project management does not come down to networking or tools or process or even methods and planning. It comes to providing clear, effective leadership to the team members under a project manager while demonstrating that leadership to managers and users expecting results from the project. This project brings home the complex ways that that leadership can manifest itself. To develop the statement of work, it required the project manager mining their experience to provide a clear-cut document of what was expected form XYZ and, just as importantly what was not. The need to coordinate with ABC’s project team requires XYZ’s project manager to lead as an expert while respecting ABC’s own expertise and knowledge of their systems, a tricky balancing act for any leader. Completing this project also requires leadership, this time of unfamiliar agents, who must be trained before XYZ can be said to have fulfilled their contractual agreements. In all, this project brought home the need for a project manager to lead.
Lessons – xxxxxx
The major thing I took from this project is what it takes to manage IT projects. I have noticed through our class project, that the size of the project we were following is/was massive when on paper. It seemed to me that this multi-phased project that has over half a year worth of time allocated to the completion of the project would be a challenge in and of itself to manage. However, our contact at Company XYZ seemed to have approached the project as if it were a small or normal sized project. This to me showed that, as project manager in the IT field you have to keep calm and resolute regardless of the size of the project. This requires a certain mindset to be able to do and requires that you have at the minimum an intermediate knowledge of the IT filed itself.
One of the other things I learned about what it takes to manage IT projects is the coordination between multiple teams (which can be from other organizations). The ability for Company XYZ and ABC to be able to coordinate and collaborate on the project to me is astounding.

Conclusion
In brief, the project we followed with Company XYZ providing a service and system to Company ABC was a massive project. The project was the implementation of a Storage Area Network (SAN) environment for customer ABC’s existing network. It was a six phase project that has been allocated eight months worth of time to be completed. The project is currently still on-going with about three months worth of time remaining to be invested on the project. During our interview of a project manager at Company XYZ, we found out they had a few problems with communication but nothing that made the project fail thus far into the project. However, we did determine some of the pitfalls and potential problems for the project, both on ABC’s and XYZ’s perspective. Some of the potential problems we found were the decision on behalf of Company ABC to only have one third-party vendor work on the project. This could cause some issues with support if XYZ were unable due to economic/market conditions or the dissolution of Company XYZ. Another we found was the possibility of bad estimates of completion dates. This could cause later phases to become truncated. Another one of the issues was that in Phase II of the project, SnapMirror Implementation, that testing is not done by XYZ per the software purchase agreement. This can cause an issue because ABC is vulnerable to change in XYZ’s structure, product, organization, etc.
All three of our project members learned or further reinforced something new about project management due to the involvement of this project. Dana learned the most about the leadership aspect that comes with being a project manager. Sean learned about the adaptability that a project manager must have to be an effective project manager, and also that communication is crucial to work in an efficient & effective team. Ryan learned about the demeanor a project manager must have to manage a large IT project and the synergy and collaboration it takes to complete a project between multiple organizations.
Over-all, this project had pitfalls we found through an analysis of the original statement of work we were provided from our contact at Company XYZ. However, even with these potential issues, the company still is working on the project and completing phases on time. This shows that even though projects in general may have potential issues, it is up to the project manager to push the project forward and to solve problems if/when they arise.
References

XYZ. Web. 09 Nov. 2009. .
"SVC Information Center." IBM Support & downloads - United States. Web. 09 Nov. 2009. .
Appendix – Pert Chart of Our Project