Driving Storage Management

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In the Information Age, organizations need some place to keep all of the data they generate. With increasing rules and regulations that require companies to maintain specific types of information over time, storage technology is taking on a mission-critical role. Software that can help storage administrators plan for additional needs, automate certain processes and monitor and report on existing solutions can drive down costs and headcount for IT shops.

According to Gartner Inc., storage management software revenue increased more than 12 percent in 2004, and is expected to see more growth in 2005—another 12 percent increase is predicted—driven by compliance needs. The storage resource management segment of that market, which includes tools that monitor and manage performance and capacity, grew nearly 31 percent in the same time period. This month, we’ll take a look at Gartner’s top-ranked vendors in terms of new license revenue.

EMC offers storage management software that covers its own line of storage products, as well as multi-vendor storage resources. From monitoring and reporting solutions that alert storage administrators to performance issues to planning and provisioning products that aid in SAN design and change management, EMC covers the gamut of needs. For example, EMC’s SAN Manager allows administrators to discover, monitor and configure SAN environments comprised of products from numerous vendors. The ControlCenter device management applications, on the other hand, are designed to enable discovery, monitoring and configuration of EMC’s own products, Symmetrix and CLARiiON. EMC was the top-ranked vendor in Gartner’s study.

VERITAS was the second-ranked vendor in the Gartner report, but has since merged with Symantec, which also appeared on the top 10 list (in ninth place). VERITAS’ Storage Foundation series helps to simplify management by automating manual tasks, allowing one storage administrator to accomplish what used to take many. VERITAS Storage Foundation combines Volume Manager and File System products to ease management and improve storage utilization. For example, VERITAS Storage Foundation for Windows allows admins to manage storage online, enables high availability, optimizes I/O performance and works across various hardware products. Symantec, of course, also offers solutions for securing storage systems and ensuring data is not lost or stolen.

No list of technology tools ever seems complete without the real 800-pound gorilla. (No, it’s not Microsoft.) IBM offers many, many products in the storage management arena, covering SAN management, storage resource management, storage virtualization and much more. Its TotalStorage Productivity Center is an open storage infrastructure management solution that automates tasks and optimizes utilization. The latest version offers a new pricing model based on capacity, instead of on processors.

Computer Associates’ BrightStor Storage Management solutions also provide cross-platform tools that help storage administrators with identification and classification of existing resources, definition of best practices in administration, and both manual and automated management. Products cover SAN management, storage resource management, SAN design and process automation management. The most recent news for CA is its announcement that it will license CaminoSoft’s Managed Server HSM for Windows software, which migrates seldom-accessed files to lower-cost media, allowing organizations to use their first-tier disk storage resources for the most frequently accessed data.

While it was fifth-ranked in terms of revenue, Network Appliance showed the strongest growth of the vendors on Gartner’s list, moving up from No. 7 in 2003. NetApp SAN Manager provides discovery, configuration and monitoring functionality that covers NetApp devices as well as products from other vendors. NetApp SAN Manager’s discover engine automatically identifies all storage components on the network, providing a graphical map to help admins plan for new storage needs and manage existing devices. The suite also includes performance monitoring, asset management and network configuration tools. The event-driven policy engine allows repetitive tasks to be automated, which means busy admins can devote their time to more critical tasks.

Rounding out Gartner’s list of top vendors are Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi/HDS, StorageTek and BMC Software. Other vendors also provide solid solutions for storage management. Check out software from McData (www.mcdata.com), CreekPath (www.creekpath.com) and AppIQ (www.appiq.com).

Emily Hollis is managing editor for Certification Magazine. She can be reached at ehollis@certmag.com.


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